London’s Metropolitan Policy has been heavily criticized for intervening at a Saturday night vigil in Clapham Common in honor of Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old woman who was murdered on her return home at the end of the day and is the prime suspect Police officer.
The event ended in clashes and at least four people were arrested for violating restrictions imposed by the UK government in the fight against Covid-19. Even before the meeting, the city police had warned that any vigil was “illegal and unsafe”.
More than a thousand people, mostly women, gathered on March 3 in the south-west of the British capital, near the place where Everard was last seen alive – his body was found in a forest in Kent on Friday.
Vigil in Clapham Common tonight for Sarah Everard #ReclaimTheseStreets | Pictures via @ReutersUK pic.twitter.com/w4MVL43zu4
– Karen Morrison (@ karenmorrison1) March 13, 2021
Hours before the vigil, Agent Wayne Couzens appeared on trial for kidnapping and murder.
The demonstrators took flowers and candles and used the event to criticize the police officers who had gathered there. They denounced the slow intervention of the authorities in the case and the lack of security many women feel when walking the streets of the city alone at the end of the day.
Eventually the mood rose and the police began to disperse the demonstrators, who doubled the volume and content of the criticism and resisted. The situation quickly got out of hand and the police began arresting people.
Police hold a woman as people gather at a memorial at the Clapham Common Bandstand after Sarah Everard was abducted and murdered on March 13, 2021 in London, UK. REUTERS / Hannah McKay pic.twitter.com/t8VV6kLt2b
– Idrees Ali (@ idreesali114) March 13, 2021
The image of a woman handcuffed to the ground and surrounded by multiple agents was widely shared on social media by several UK political and civil leaders and was accompanied by complaints about the use of excessive force by the authorities.
Helen Ball, deputy commissioner for the London Metropolitan Police, said four people had been arrested.
Terrible scenes in Clapham Common last night. Women at a peaceful vigil where male violence is violently mistreated and handcuffed by police officers #SarahEverard #ReclaimTheseStreets pic.twitter.com/fHBpa6qQpg
– Diane Abbott MP (@HackneyAbbott) March 14, 2021
“It is obvious that we did not want to put ourselves in a position where our intervention would be necessary. But we were put in that position because the security of the people needs to be overwhelmingly protected, ”Ball said in a statement.
Home Secretary Priti Patel has already asked the London police for a detailed report of their intervention in Clapham Common and Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, has called for an “urgent explanation” from the police chief, Cressida Dick.
“The answer [da política] it was neither appropriate nor proportionate, ”suggested the Labor Mayor.