Wednesday, December 8

London police criticized for clashing with mourners at vigil to remember Sarah Everard

London police were criticized on Saturday for their handling of a vigil to remember Sarah Everard, whose death prompted an officer to be charged.

The Metropolitan Police have defended their action, citing the pandemic and the ban on meetings.

Hundreds of people showed up in London’s Clapham area on Saturday, near where Everard was last seen, despite a court ruling banning the gathering due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Those attending the vigil said they wanted to draw attention to the fear and danger that many women see as part of everyday British life.

Many laid flowers at a makeshift memorial. Among them was Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, who was seen pausing for a moment in front of the sea of ​​flowers.

But footage from the event posted on social media by aide Deborah Hermanns showed police pressuring and detaining people as they tried to break up the crowd.

Four people were arrested for public order offenses and violations of the Health Protection Regulations, police said.

Home secretary Priti Patel has demanded “a full report on what happened” from the Metropolitan Police, describing the images as “disturbing.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan of the main opposition Labor party said the footage shows that “the [Metropolitan Police’s] the response was sometimes not appropriate or proportionate. “

“I am in contact with the Commissioner and urgently seek an explanation,” he added. “

Meanwhile, the leader of the Liberal Democrats The party asked Commissioner Credissa Dick to “consider your servant leadership and whether you can continue to have the confidence of the millions of women in London that you have a duty to safeguard and protect.”

The 33-year-old woman’s disappearance while walking home late on March 3 sent shockwaves across the UK and sparked a conversation about violence against women.

A police officer was charged with his kidnapping and murder.

Metropolitan Police Officer Wayne Couzens appeared in court for the first time since he was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and killing the marketing executive.

Everard’s body was found hidden in a wooded area of ​​Kent. Police said a post-mortem examination was underway.

In the aftermath of the murder, many women took to social media to share their own experiences of being threatened while walking outside.

Organizers of Everard’s “Reclaim the Streets” memorial vigils criticized the Metropolitan Police for banning the events and questioned the Superior Court’s decision, which sided with the police.

In a statement issued after the vigil, the Metropolitan Police said officers on the ground “faced a very difficult decision” as “hundreds of people were huddled together, posing a real risk of easily transmitting COVID-19” .

“The police must act for the safety of people, this is the only responsible thing that can be done. The pandemic is not over and gatherings of people across London and beyond are still not safe,” they added.

Organizers of the “Reclaim the Streets” vigils said they would raise funds for women’s causes.

A recent European study found that 83% of young women change their itineraries or limit who they see to avoid harassment or violence.

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