"Raped while dying. And still no arrests. How come, Chief Willoughby?" These were the messages displayed on billboards in the Oscar-nominated Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Inspired by the Hollywood film, Justice4Grenfell has created and displayed a series of similar signs around London on Thursday (15 February).
Demanding answers, vans were driven throughout the city, carrying three billboards that read: "71 dead. And still no arrests? How come?"
Similar to the ones used in the film, the signs used black capitalised letters against a red background. The mobile billboards, mounted on three vans, drove past landmarks of Central London such as St. Paul's Cathedral and the Houses of Parliament.
Directed by Martin McDonagh, the film features a mother named Mildred played by Frances McDormand. Using the billboards as a form of protest, the character questions the negligence of police authorities after the murder of her daughter.
London-born McDonagh explained that the story was born after he spotted billboard protest signs while traveling through Texas. Speaking to The LA Times, he called it a "raging, painful message calling out the cops about a crime".
"The film that we are using as inspiration, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, highlights the power of advertising to bring about justice. We wanted to harness this power to remind people how little has been done since the tragic event shook this community, and the country, just over eight months ago," said Yvette Williams, a spokesperson for Justice4Grenfell.
The fire accident happened on 14 June 2017, killing 70 people and causing a stillbirth for one of the residents.
Justice4Grenfell hopes to keep the tragedy "in the national conscience" by encouraging progress. A post from the official twitter of the community-led organisation reads: "3 Billboards Outside Grenfell, London. Listen to all our voices now; we demand #Justice4Grenfell. Please Retweet."
As reported by The Standard, Yvette Williams met with community leaders and survivors outside Grenfell Tower where the vans were parked after completing a journey through the British capital.
She elaborated the purpose behind the campaign, stating: "These billboards are here because there have still been no arrests, hundreds of survivors remain homeless, and 297 other towers in the UK are still covered in flammable cladding.
"We were told that even as the public inquiry is ongoing, there was going to be an interim report by Easter. Now that's not happening. We want the truth. We want prosecutions," she said, according to the Guardian.
"People up and down the country need to feel safe in their homes. None of that is happening. We think they're playing with time, hoping that the story will be downplayed."
Williams was referring to an ongoing independent inquiry examining the case. No charges have been filed yet.
Meanwhile, Cressida Dick, head of the Metropolitan police, had reportedly said in December 2017 that the investigation was unlikely to be completed until 2019, given the large number of evidence that remains to be reviewed.
It is believed prima facie that the blaze originated after a refrigerator caught fire in the early hours of 14 June 2017 on the fourth floor of the 24-storey residential block. Hundreds of firefighters battled the blaze for several hours, eventually extinguishing the raging flames.