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London police chief faces calls to resign after officers smash vigil to murdered Sarah Everard

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The man accused of murdering her is a member of the same police force.

Throughout the day, the villains had flocked to the kiosk in Clapham Common, an area where Everard was last seen, in homage to his life. But they also took part in an act of solidarity, in recognition of the shared and ubiquitous experience of intimidation, violence and harassment that women are constantly confronted in public spaces.

A series of ‘Reclaim These Streets’ evening vigils had been planned across the UK on Saturday. The main event, in Clapham Common, was canceled after Met said they could not go ahead, citing coronavirus restrictions. Organizers asked people to shed light on their doors for Everard and for all the women affected and lost by the violence.

But as night fell, evil pacifists gathered for the socially distanced event in Clapham. Attendees chanted, “This is a vigil, we don’t need your services.”

Less than an hour after the rally began, officers moved to inform people that they were in violation of Covid-19 regulations and that they had to leave. Then, a predominantly male group of men was installed, who used containment and corralling techniques, where officers surrounded the protesters to keep them in a certain place, making social distancing impossible, ordering the people who leave or face arrests and fines.

As police officers forcibly removed the women from the kiosk and dropped others to the ground, attendees sang “Shame,” “Arrest Yours,” and “Who Are You Protecting?”

In a statement Sunday morning, Met police said they “absolutely did not want to be in a position where enforcement action was needed,” but “placed us in that position because of the urgent need to protect security.” of the people “.

Home Secretary Victoria Atkins directed a now viral photograph of one of the women who had been captured by police officers during an interview with Sky News on Sunday morning, saying that “it’s something the police will have to do. to explain in this report to the Home Secretary “.

A woman is arrested on Saturday in a vigil in memory of the murdered Londoner Sarah Everard.

Atkins added that the British government was “taking very seriously” the “very annoying scenes”.

His comments come as videos on social media and news agencies continue to surface, showing attendees fighting with police.

Several British leaders from party divisions have agreed that the police response was disproportionately harsh, and the mayor of London ordered “an independent investigation into the events yesterday evening and the days before”.

In a statement on Twitter, Sadiq Khan also said he had spoken on Sunday with the commissioner and deputy commissioner at City Hall to explain what happened, saying he was “not satisfied with the explanation they have provided”.

The mayor said he had asked the government and police last week to “work with the organizers of the vigil to clarify the law and find a way for it to be carried out legally and safely” and that he had received “guarantees” of the I knew the vigil would be “significantly controlled.”

“In my opinion, it wasn’t like that.” Khan said.

He described Saturday night’s scenes as “completely unacceptable” and said he “fully understands why women, girls and allies wanted to make a vigil to remember Sarah and all women who have been abused or have been abused.” lost their lives at the hands of men and reclaiming public spaces where women are made to feel so insecure. “

Labor leader Keir Starmer called the Clapham scenes “deeply disturbing”.

“That wasn’t the way to control this protest,” Starmer said.

Liberal-Democratic party leaders agreed and joined a growing chorus that has called on the metropolitan police commissioner to resign. “Cressida Dick has lost the trust of millions of women in London and should resign,” Liberal Democrats said, saying the vigil police were “totally embarrassing and embarrassing to the metropolitan police”.

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel said “some” of the images circulating online were “annoying” and said she had asked the Met for a “full report on what happened”.

Patels’s comments, however, take place in a landscape increasingly hostile to dissenting voices, which disproportionately affects marginalized communities, including women.

Sarah Everard’s case reminds women what they already knew: they’re never safe

The Home Secretary has said nothing about his plans to crack down on dissent, and has called environmental protesters “eco-Croats turned criminals” with the intention of attacking a British way of life and labeling tactics of Black Lives Matter protesters as “thugs”. different speeches last fall.

And while Patel has said the government will always “defend the right to protest,” his actions suggest otherwise.

Critics of the Police, Crimes, Sentences and Courts Bill 2021, which was introduced by Patel last week, claim that the new law seeks to crush the peaceful right to protest.
It is a movement that according to activists underlines the solution preferred by the government to strengthen funding and the presence of the police on the ground, when the police have they repeatedly abused the powers they already have, exemplified in response to Everard’s vigil.
Patsy Stevenson, who was arrested by Met agents on Saturday evening, has urged the public to put the narrative away from the police and go back to what happened to Everard, calling the public will show their support on 15 March in London’s Parliament Square. Others have it he called for a Sunday eve.

Safeguarding women

Meanwhile, according to Atkins, the government has conducted a “end-to-end” review of the criminal justice system, including changes in the conviction of serious and violent offenders.

The minister described the Domestic Abuse Act as “relevant legislation” that will initiate a “conversation about abusive behaviors and what we can do to support victims, but also to attack perpetrators,” she said, adding that the government was investing “unprecedented amounts of money” also in author programs.

But Jess Phillips, the UK Home Secretary, said the government should “turn its rhetoric into action”, noting that the bill mentions statues more than women.

More than 70% of women surveyed by a new UN Women UK survey said they had experienced sexual harassment in public spaces. That figure rose to 97 percent among women ages 18 to 24, according to surveys. The data, released on Wednesday, has been extracted from a YouGov survey of more than 1,000 women commissioned by UN Women UK in January 2021.

Surveys of the organization also suggested that women had little faith in public institutions to deal with the situation.

“Only 4% of women told us they reported incidents of harassment to an official organization; 45% of women said they didn’t think reporting would help change anything,” UN Women UK said.

Murder suspect and police officer Wayne Couzens, 48, appeared in London’s Westminster Magistrates Court on Saturday for his first hearing. He has been remanded in custody and will then appear in Old Bailey Court in London on March 16, according to Met Police.
The organizers of “Reclaim These Streets” they have raised £ 488,625 (around US $ 680,166) over the past 48 hours they plan to donate to women’s charitable causes.

CNN’s Nina Dos Santos, Arnaud Siad and Laura Smith-Spark contributed to this report.

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