Hundreds gather in London to mark killing of Sarah Everard and protest violence against women
Police in London clashed with mourners and protesters on Saturday after more than a thousand people gathered to mark the killing of a 33-year-old woman, hours after the police officer charged with her murder appeared in court.
Sarah Everard’s disappearance as she walked home on the evening of March 3 had led to a wave of accounts from women about the dangers of walking streets alone at night, and dismay at the failure of police and wider society to tackle this.
Early on Saturday an impromptu memorial with flowers and candles sprang up around the bandstand on Clapham Common in southwest London, near where Everard was last seen alive.
Kate, Britain’s Duchess of Cambridge, was among those who paid their respects. A palace official said Kate “remembers what it was like to walk around London at night before she was married”.
It happens in the day. It happens at night. It happens regardless of what you’re wearing.
Both of these men followed me in their cars. Parked them, then followed me on foot. This happens all the time, and so much of it goes undocumented. This is our reality.#Reclaimthestreets pic.twitter.com/ggmazjV0PD
— Frank.Riot (@RiotFrank) March 11, 2021
By late Saturday around a thousand people – mostly women – gathered at the site to pay their respects and protest at the lack of security they felt when out alone. Some chanted “shame on you” at police who were present.
Campaign groups had wanted to organise a formal vigil, but London’s Metropolitan Police said people should not gather due to coronavirus restrictions.
The head of the force, Cressida Dick, said any vigil “would be unlawful and would be unsafe”.
As tensions mounted, Reuters witnesses saw police drag several women away from the gathering on Clapham Common.
Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball said four people were arrested for public order offences and breaches of the Health Protection Regulations.
“We absolutely did not want to be in a position where enforcement action was necessary,” Ball said in a statement. “But we were placed in this position because of the overriding need to protect people’s safety.”…..read more