LONDON (Reuters) – Hundreds of thousands of revelers attending London’s annual Notting Hill Carnival fell silent for 72 seconds on Monday to honor the 72 people who died in the Grenfell Tower fire last year.
Musicians dressed in vibrant colors set down their instruments in a mark of respect and sound systems that had been booming out Caribbean and other music were briefly turned off.
The fire, Britain’s deadliest on domestic premises since World War Two, swept through the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London in the early hours of June 14, 2017.
It is now the subject of a public inquiry and a separate police investigation that could result in criminal charges. The tragedy has come to symbolize a yawning gap between the haves and have-nots in modern Britain.
Although the tower block was located in one of the wealthiest areas of Britain, it housed many poorer people, some from ethnic minorities, and raised difficult questions about social housing, building regulations and fire safety rules.
The Notting Hill Carnival, whose route passes near the site of the fire, is a symbol of interracial tolerance which dates back to the 1960s and celebrates the Afro-Caribbean community.
Reporting by Henry Nicolls; writing by Elisabeth O’Leary; Editing by Gareth Jones