A crowd of mainly women gathered this Saturday night in Clapham Common, south London, to carry out a vigil for the murder of Sarah Everard, the young woman kidnapped and murdered by an agent of the body who disappeared in the past March 3 when she was walking home alone. Hundreds of people came to the scene in defiance of the express prohibition of the London Metropolitan Police (Met), which had canceled it during the current context of restrictions imposed by the pandemic.
It was then that the media and social networks released images of agents trying to disperse the protesters, scenes that have been widely criticized from different social and political sectors. Some policemen grabbed and handcuffed some of the women present and four women were arrested for disturbing public order and committing violations against the restrictions, the body confirmed.RELATED
The deputy commissioner of the Met, Helen Ball, pointed out during the early hours of this Sunday that the agents found themselves in a situation in which it was “necessary” to take “actions to enforce the law.” “There were hundreds of people tightly packed together, posing a very real risk that covid-19 could spread easily,” Ball explained, recalling that the Police “must act for the safety of citizens.”
He recalled that “the pandemic is not over and gatherings of people across London and beyond are still not safe.” The police reported that they tried to disperse those present, urging them “repeatedly” to comply with the Law, but “unfortunately a small minority began to sing to the officers, push and throw objects.” Citizen reproaches were heard, such as “shame” or “you are supposed to be here to protect us.”
The platform Reclaim These Streets (Reclaim those streets), which had initially organized the vigil, was “deeply saddened and angered” by the police intervention, “physically moving women in a vigil against male violence.” British Home Secretary Priti Patel has requested a full report on what happened while expressing her “discomfort”, while the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Ed Davey, has urged Met Chief Commissioner Cressida Dick to ” consider “his leadership in the Police while others ask for his resignation.
Also the mayor of London, Labor Sadiq Khan, said that the scenes seen last night were “unacceptable”. “The police have a responsibility to enforce the Covid-19 regulations, but from the images I have seen, it is clear that the response was sometimes neither appropriate nor proportionate,” said the mayor. Agent Wayne Couzens, 48, appeared yesterday before a London court charged with the crimes of kidnapping and murder of the young woman.