Dozens of people in mourning defied the restrictions imposed in the United Kingdom by the covid-19 on Saturday to meet and mourn the death of Sarah Everard , a 33-year-old Londoner murdered on March 3 , and to protest the violence against the women .
The cancellation of the vigil in London, caused by anti-covid restrictions, led to clashes between protesters and the London Metropolitan Police, which tried to dissolve the concentration. Politicians from across the British spectrum have criticized the intervention of the security forces, with strong criticism of the harshness of the agents.
The vigil for Everard was called off after the Police warned that it would constitute a violation of the restrictions imposed to prevent coronavirus infections. The organizing organization itself, Claim These Streets, announced the annulment of the act.
Despite this, hundreds of people gathered in Clapham Common park in South London. However, at one point the attendees showed their anger and protested what happened, which led to altercations with the police.
The opposition leader, Labor Keir Starmer, has called the disseminated images of policemen forcibly taking female participants away as ” deeply disturbing” . “The women wanted to pay tribute to Sarah Everard. They should have been able to do it peacefully. I share their anger and discomfort for the management that has been done,” he argued.
A protester confronts an officer during the eviction.
Flowers, silence and tears
Before the incidents occurred, dozens of women and men flocked to Clapham Common to leave flowers, letters and drawings at an Everard memorial, remaining silent to the occasional sound of sobbing as several police officers watched. Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, was filmed among those who visited a bandstand where tributes were left.
“Rest in peace Sarah. It could have been any of us. I hope justice is served,” read a sign above the flowers.
“It seems we finally have people’s attention, so it was important for me to be here despite the ban and to honor Sarah’s memory,” said Hannah, 29, who asked not to use her full name. ” Handling , name calling , following … literally every woman I know has experienced this,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Faced with the ban on vigils, other women and campaign groups organized online events and door-to-door tributes for Everard, whose murder has sparked widespread anger and fear about the safety of women .
Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge , attended the makeshift memorial erected on Clapham Common, near where Everard was last seen alive. According to a palace source, Catherine “remembers what it was like to walk around London at night before getting married.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he and his partner, Carrie Symonds, would light a candle in memory of Everard on Saturday night. “I will do everything I can to make sure the streets are safe and ensure that women and girls do not face harassment or abuse,” she added.
Everard, a marketing executive, disappeared while returning to a friend’s house at around 9:30 p.m. on March 3. His body was found in a forest about 80 kilometers away , in the south-east of England.
Police Officer Wayne Couzens , 48, is charged with Everard’s kidnapping and murder. Couzens, a member of the elite parliamentary and diplomatic corps, appeared in court for the first time on Saturday. Before the judge, he confirmed his name, date of birth and address. He will remain in preventive detention until the next procedural hearing, set for March 16.
The murder of the young Londoner has led many women to share their fear of walking alone and their experiences of harassment or assault by men in public online, and calling for more measures to be taken to address violence against women and the abuses .