News 14 March 2021

Police clash with attendees at a Sarah Everard vigil

14 March 2021

The Met Police have been criticised after police clashed with people who attended a vigil set up to mourn Sarah Everard in Clapham Common, South London.

The vigil was set up by Reclaim These Streets but it was later cancelled and the group asked people not to gather as it could “put people at risk”.

Instead, the group called for the public to hold candlelight vigils on their doorsteps.

Hundreds gathered to pay their respects to the 33-year-old who was murdered. A police officer, Wayne Couzens, was charged with Sarah Everard’s kidnap and murder earlier this week.

In videos posted to social media, women can be seen being handcuffed and taken away in police vans from the vigil.

Lambeth police criticised the vigil and said on Twitter, “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.” 

Taking to Twitter to address the incident, Sadiq Khan the Mayor of London said, “The scenes from Clapham Common are unacceptable. The police have a responsibility to enforce Covid laws but from images I’ve seen it’s clear the response was at times neither appropriate nor proportionate. I’m contact with the Commissioner & urgently seeking an explanation.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Twitter, “Tonight Carrie and I will be lighting a candle for Sarah Everard and thinking of her family and friends. I cannot imagine how unbearable their pain and grief is.”

“We must work fast to find all the answers to this horrifying crime. I will do everything I can to make sure the streets are safe and ensure women and girls do not face harassment or abuse.”