- many arrested and dragged away.
- Sister Uncut tells police “We do NOT answer to violent men”
- MP says Police boss has questions to answer
Clapham Common was heavily tensed this evening after sympathizers who attended a vigil organized for Sarah Everad clashed with the Met Police Officers.
The police’s effort to disperse the crowd failed as the crowd swelled, despite being cancelled at the last minutes.
The relationship between the police and the public had strained after it was announced that a Serving Met officer, Wayne Couzen, 48, was responsible for the disappearance of the 33-year-old marketing executive.
The crowd shouted “shame on you” as the officers’ arrest and dragged many protesters away.
Hundreds of sympathizers had gathered throughout the day to lay flowers and pay their respect.
Kate Middleton was seen among the crowd earlier, paying her tribute.
A campaign group, Reclaim These Street, had organized the vigil for 6 pm but was called off at the last minutes.
The organizers decided to hold a virtual event instead; however, hundreds of people still defiled the cancellation and visited the bandstand in droves.
Many of the attendees comfort one another as they express their emotions while some lit candles in Mrs Everard’s memory.
The police had cancelled the vigil for fear of further spreading coronavirus, but sympathizers argued that the attack on women was more critical than covid-19 restrictions.
Metro reports that demonstrators accused the police of “waiting for the sun to set before they started grabbing and manhandling women in the crowd”.
The newspaper also reports that police had also arrested some women at the bandstand.
A group, Sister Uncut, which had sent representatives to the vigil, tweeted, “As soon as the sun went down, police stormed the bandstand. We do NOT answer to violent men.”
A video posted online showed officers arresting women before taking them away as onlookers were shouting.
Sarah Everard’s body was found in woodland on Wednesday after she went missing after leaving a friend’s home in Clapham.
Serving officer Wayne Couzens has been charged with murder and appeared in court Saturday.
Reclaim The Street, which argued that the vigil could be organized in a covid secured way, could not prove their case against a high court’s judgment on Friday.
As the number of sympathizers increased at the bandstand, Lambeth police earlier tweeted that ‘The gathering at Clapham Common is unsafe. Hundreds of people are tightly packed together in breach of the regulations and risking public health. “We are urging people to go home, and we thank those who have been engaging with officers and who are leaving.”
An MP, Bell Ribeiro-Addy, representing Streatham, criticized the action of the police, saying, “This could have been the socially distanced vigil the community needed to remember Sarah and all the women who have lost their lives to violence. We knew what was going to happen if the event was shut down.”
She added: ‘I know Lambeth Borough officers made efforts to compromise with the organizers but were overruled from high up. ‘They’ll be left to deal with the fallout of this and the further burden it places on already strained community relationships. Very disappointing from Scotland Yard.’
Labour leader Keir Starmer also criticized the action of the police in a tweet this evening.
He tweets, “the scenes in Clapham this evening are deeply disturbing. Women came together to mourn Sarah Everard – they should have been able to do so peacefully. I share their anger and upset at how this has been handled. This was not the way to police this protest.”
Meanwhile, MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy later tweeted that the situation is now calm as people continue to pay their respect to Ms Everard.
“Scenes from Clapham Common.
“This could have been the socially distanced vigil the community needed to remember Sarah and all the women who have lost their lives to violence. We knew what was going to happen if the event was shut down.”©Standard Gazette, 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s publisher is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Standard Gazette with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.