Confrontations have broken out between police and members of the public attending a vigil for Sarah Everard.
Scuffles ensued after hundreds gathered on London’s Clapham Common to pay tribute to the murdered 33-year-old despite planned vigils being cancelled.
Some women who were speaking at the event were removed by police, to cries of “shame on you” from the crowd.
Lambeth police tweeted that the vigil was “unsafe” but female MPs criticised their actions as “heavy-handed”.
After the clashes in Clapham, Charlotte Nichols, shadow minister for women and equalities, tweeted: “If metpoliceuk had put the resources into assisting ReclaimTS to hold the covid-secure vigil originally planned that they put into stopping any collective show of grief and solidarity (both through the courts and a heavy-handed physical response), we’d all be in a better place.”
Planned evening vigils were called off because of Covid restrictions, but hundreds gathered at Clapham Common.
Reclaim These Streets asked people not to gather at Clapham Common, adding that doing so might put people “legally at risk”.
Earlier, Met Police officer Wayne Couzens, 48, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court charged with the kidnap and murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard, who was last seen on 3 March as she walked home from Clapham to Brixton.
Her death has prompted women to share their own experiences, and a public debate over their safety.
What are the rules on gatherings in England?
- Under the current lockdown rules two people can meet for recreation outside, which can include “coffee on a bench”
- From 29 March people will be allowed to meet outdoors, either with one other household or within the “rule of six”
- Police can break up illegal gatherings and issue fines of £10,000 to someone holding a gathering of more than 30 people
- During last year’s restrictions, when Black Lives Matter and anti-lockdown demonstrations took place, police took a hands-off approach to protests
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