Key London police officers were unanimously scolded across the canal following their intervention during a rally in honor of Sarah Everard on Saturday 13th March. This young executive, who disappeared on March 3, was found dead on Wednesday. A 48-year-old police officer was charged with kidnapping and murder on Friday. The police had not approved the rally on Saturday due to the current health restrictions against Covid-19.
On Sunday March 14th, a wave of criticism hit the London police. Questioned by the clashes that broke out the night before during a rally in honor of Sarah Everard, whose disappearance caused a stir in the UK. A case where a police officer is charged with murder.
On Saturday evening, March 13th, police officers clashed with some of the participants in the early evening. A vigil with candles and portable lights was held in the Clapham district, where the young Briton disappeared on March 3rd. A rally originally organized by the “Reclaim these streets” (in French “Take back possession of their streets”) movement that was eventually canceled by its organizers: the police did not approve the demonstration due to the restrictions in place against the coronavirus.
According to police, four people were arrested for violating anti-coronavirus rules and public order. The footage of the young women being restrained and handcuffed generated much conviction and feelings of disgust, adding to the intense emotion evoked by the disappearance of Sarah Everard, a young executive, 33, on her way home has been.
The political class unanimously condemns police repression
Despite the police ban, a crowd gathered on Saturday evening to pay tribute to Sarah Everard AFP – JUSTIN TALLIS
The young woman’s body was discovered in a forest in Kent (southeast) on Wednesday March 10th. Wayne Couzens, 48, a London police officer responsible for protecting diplomatic missions, was charged with kidnapping and murder on Friday night. Several thousand people are defying restrictions on meeting late Saturday afternoon to pay tribute to Sarah Everard. We could see a lot of slogans on the signs like: “She just went home” or “We won’t stop until the women are safe”.
Pictures from the rally on Saturday evening toured the internet. Several voices were raised against the police’s attitude towards the demonstrators. The Reclaim this street movement condemned the actions of police officers who “physically abused women during a vigil against male violence”. Home Secretary Priti Patel and London Mayor Sadiq Khan asked police to explain how they handled the incident. The leader of the Liberal Democrats has since called on the London police chief, Cressida Dick, to resign, saying that she has “lost the trust of millions of women in London”. For Labor opposition leader Keir Starmer, the events on Saturday are “deeply worrying”. “It wasn’t a good policing practice,” he tweeted.
Some of the footage circulated online of the Clapham vigil is disturbing. I asked the city police for a full report on what happened.
My thoughts stay with Sarah’s family and friends during this terrible time.
– Priti Patel (@pritipatel) March 13, 2021
My full statement after meeting the Met Commissioner to discuss the surveillance of the vigil on Clapham Common last night: pic.twitter.com/lagvqVNSDf
– Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) March 14, 2021
In a statement released on Saturday night, Deputy Commissioner Helen Ball defended the police’s actions and assured them that the situation was such that his intervention was “necessary”. “Hundreds of people have been massaged which is a real risk for the transmission of Covid-19” which has killed more than 125,000 people in the UK. This is the highest number in Europe. “We have repeatedly urged those who were there to abide by the law and leave,” the statement said. A “small minority of people” began chanting slogans, poking the police and throwing them away.
#UPDATE | Statement by AC Helen Ball after the # ClaphamCommon vigil
“We absolutely didn’t want to be in a position where enforcement action was required. But we were put in that position because protecting people’s safety is a priority.” Https://t.co/HQpS0LD7TB
– City Police (@metpoliceuk) March 14, 2021
The emotions across the country
Hundreds of bouquets of flowers and messages have been preserved in her memory in Clapham Common Park, a place of meditation since Sarah Everard’s disappearance. Earlier on Saturday, the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, went there to pay tribute to the young woman who disappeared ten days ago.
Messages and bouquets of flowers were left in Clapham Park, London, where the body of young woman AFP – DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS was found
A candle was lit on the steps of 10 Downing Street, home of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, on Saturday night. On Thursday, MP Jess Philipps read to the House of Commons the names of the 118 women killed in the country last year. Events also took place in several cities, Glasgow, Nottingham, Birmingham and Bristol. A feminist movement, Sisters uncut, called for a demonstration outside Scotland Yard on Sunday afternoon.
I am shocked and deeply saddened by developments in Sarah Everard’s investigation. As in the rest of the country, my thoughts are with her family and friends. We must work quickly to find all the answers to this terrible crime.
– Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) March 11, 2021
On Saturday night, the prize pool launched by Reclaim in these streets reached its goal of raising £ 320,000 for causes in favor of women, the equivalent of the £ 10,000 fine the organizers have been given over the number of venues where events should take place. The movement went to justice on Friday to challenge London police’s refusal to allow the event to take place on Saturday to no avail.