Everard disappeared while walking home from a friend’s apartment around 10:30 p.m., and was found dead a week later. The murder sent shockwaves across the UK as a Metropolitan Police officer is charged with her abduction and murder.
A video of Saturday’s informal vigil rounded up police officers from the same police force arguing with participants as they pushed through the crowd. At one point, several male police officers caught several women and handcuffed them with the screams and shouts of onlookers, the British Press Association reported.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan condemned the police actions.
“The police are responsible for enforcing Covid’s law, but from the pictures I saw it is clear that the response was sometimes neither appropriate nor proportionate,” Khan said on Twitter.
Interior Minister Priti Patel tweeted that she had asked the metropolitan police for a full report on what had happened.
The rally came hours after London police officer Wayne Couzens, 48, first appeared in court following an arrest in Everard’s death. As metropolitan police officers approached the Clapham Common booth on Saturday night, noise, mocking shouts and shouts of “Shame on you” came from the crowd, according to the Press Association.
Organizers had hoped to hold a “Street Returns” vigil in memory of Everard at a location in south London and other UK cities on Saturday, but canceled personal events after a judge refused to issue an order allowing them to continue despite coronavirus restrictions. gatherings at the bar.
Hundreds of people showed up though. Before the police moved in, many participants laid flowers at the tribune in the park. Among them was Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, who was seen for a moment pausing in front of a sea of flowers.
Other people held signs reading “We will not be silenced” and “She was just walking home,” and the crowd chanted, “United sisters will never be defeated.”
After Everard’s disappearance and killing, many women turned to social media to share their own experiences of threats or attacks while walking outside.
A 33-year-old nurse working in the Clapham area, Mel Clarke, said she felt “very conflicted” about attending Saturday’s rally due to pandemic restrictions, but in the end “just felt I had to be here.”
“I am really happy that there are a lot of men here. I hope this is an opportunity for men to learn how women feel and how vulnerable we are, ”Clarke said. “I hope this is the beginning of justice for Sarah.”
The metropolitan police expressed shock and horror that one of them is a suspect in the case. London police said Couzens joined its ranks in 2018 and recently served in the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, an armed unit responsible for guarding embassies in the capital and parliament.
During his appearance in court earlier that day, Couzens stood in a gray tracksuit as the charges were read to him. He was remanded in custody, and another appearance is scheduled for Tuesday at London’s Central Criminal Court.
Everard’s body was found hidden in a wooded area in Kent, more than 50 miles southeast of London, on Wednesday, a week after she disappeared. A post-mortem examination is underway, police said on Friday.
TV and radio presenter Sandy Toxwig said at the start of Saturday’s online vigil that “a cultural shift is needed in the way women are viewed and treated in both public and private spaces.”
“I am filled equally with deep sadness and anger, and I know there are many who share this anger, and I think that is completely justified,” Toxwig said. “But I also know that it will do us more harm than good if we don’t try to direct our anger to good causes.”
This version was corrected to show that the Minister of the Interior, Patel, is a woman.
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