On Saturday the 13th of March, a vigil in memory of Sarah Everard, a 33-year old woman who was abducted from Clapham Common and murdered, was held. The vigil had been planned days in advance with measures taken to make it Covid secure. However, the Met police went to the High Court to petition for the protest to be banned…and succeeded. The vigil still went ahead albeit illegally.
As with all mass gatherings in London, the Met were on duty to police the crowd, but given the suspected murderer of Sarah Everard was in their ranks (Wayne Couzens, a Met officer, appeared in court yesterday charged with Ms Everard’s murder), one would imagine they would approach the vigil with decorum and sensitivity. Nope — instead they made hostile lines around the vigil of the sorts usually seen in riots and it quickly turned violent. The police started running into the crowd, grabbing women, then bundling them into vans and driving away — this is of course the tactic of kidnappers, a similar thing may have happened to the same woman these women were mourning, and by a Met officer.
The police justified their actions by saying they were trying to stop the spread of Covid, but the Shadow Cabinet has condemned the action, stating that with the amount of men the Met deployed, they should have only been enforcing social distancing. In summary, a woman was abducted and murdered, the man who stands accused for the crime is a serving Metropolitan Police Officer (and was serving in the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, an armed unit responsible for guarding the Parliamentary estate and embassies in London). Women who felt scared for their safety wanted to hold a vigil in Ms Everard’s memory whilst still obeying coronavirus law. The Met, instead of assisting with this and making it as safe as possible, lobbied against it and won. When it became clear the vigil was going to happen anyway, instead of working with the women to keep it Covid secure, they became hostile, aggressive and violent — many videos from the protest can be seen all over social media of officers acting with extraordinary violence and unwarranted brutality.