Watch: Police accused of ‘grabbing and manhandling’ women during Sarah Everard vigil
London Metropolitan Police officers have been accused of ‘grabbing and manhandling’ women during a vigil organised to commemorate Sarah Everard.
© Provided by Extra.ie
A woman holds up a placard as people gather in Clapham Common, London, after the Reclaim These Streets vigil for Sarah Everard was officially cancelled. Serving police constable Wayne Couzens, 48, has appeared in court charged with kidnapping and killing the marketing executive, who went missing while walking home from a friend’s flat in south London on March 3. Picture date: Saturday March 13, 2021.
On Friday, the tragic news was confirmed that human remains discovered in a woodland in Ashford, Kent, had been identified as those of 33-year-old marketing executive Sarah Everard.
Ms Everard had gone missing on March 3 as she was walking home from a friend’s house in Clapham, London. A 48-year-old serving police officer named Wayne Couzens has been charged with her kidnap and murder.© Provided by Extra.ie London Metropolitan Police officers have been accused of ‘grabbing and manhandling’ women during a vigil organised to commemorate Sarah Everard. Pic: Victoria Jones/PA Wire/PA Images
British collective Reclaim The Streets had attempted to organise a vigil on Clapham Common in Ms Everard’s honour.
On Saturday morning, the organisation announced that the failure of London Metropolitan Police to engage in talks about how to hold the event in a safe, COVID friendly manner had prompted their decision to cancel the vigil.
Those who wishes to pay tribute to Ms Everard were instructed to light a candle on their doorstep on Saturday night. Nonetheless, hundreds of demonstrators, including Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, did report to Clapham Common to pay their respects
The vigil was peaceful for the most part, but some clashes occurred as police officers surrounded a bandstand laden with flowers brought in Ms Everard’s honour.
Footage circulated online showing police officers grabbing some women and leading them away in handcuffs while bystanders screamed in protest.
Members of the crowd retaliated in anger, chanting ‘shame on you’ and ‘arrest your own’. One confrontation showed a distressed woman telling officers: ‘You’re supposed to protect us.’© Provided by Extra.ie The vigil was peaceful for the most part, but some clashes occurred as police officers surrounded a bandstand laden with flowers brought in Ms Everard’s honour. Pic: Victoria Jones/PA Wire/PA Images
The actions of police officers have prompted criticism from political quarters in the UK, as Labour leader Keir Starmer described the scenes in Clapham on Saturday evening as ‘deeply disturbing’.
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel took to Twitter on Saturday night to post: ‘Some of the footage circulating online from the vigil in Clapham is upsetting.
‘I have asked the Metropolitan Police for a full report on what happened. My thoughts remain with Sarah’s friends and family at this terrible time.’