Cops storm crowds at Sarah Everard vigil as ugly scenes see mourners dragged off Clapham Common

1 month ago 15

COPS stormed tearful mourners tonight after thousands flocked to the Sarah Everard vigil on Clapham Common.

Scenes turned ugly in South London as police dragged people away from a candle-lit shrine around a bandstand, where crowds had gathered to pay their respects.

Police detain a woman as people gather at a memorial site in Clapham Common Bandstand

Police detain a woman as people gather at a memorial site in Clapham Common Bandstand

Members of the public have been detained after attending the vigil in London

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Members of the public have been detained after attending the vigil in LondonCredit: Jamie Lorriman

One woman put in handcuffs at Clapham Common

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One woman put in handcuffs at Clapham CommonCredit: Jamie Lorriman

Cops clashed with the peaceful members of the public who had convened on the Common

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Cops clashed with the peaceful members of the public who had convened on the CommonCredit: AFP or licensors

Mourners shone lights as police barricaded the Common bandstand

Mourners shone lights as police barricaded the Common bandstand

Hundreds of people stood in solidarity in Clapham Common this evening

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Hundreds of people stood in solidarity in Clapham Common this eveningCredit: Universal News & Sport

Sarah disappeared last Wednesday as she walked home

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Sarah disappeared last Wednesday as she walked home

Mourners shouted “shame on you” at officers as they ripped women off the metal railings of the bandstand, with reports floral tributes were trampled on.

While shocking pictures showed mourners pinned to the floor as they were arrested and others cuffed as they were led away.

However, the Met Police are yet to release figures on how many people were taken into custody.

The vigil, attended by crowds of thousands, started peacefully with women lifting their lighters in unison and holding placards as they stood in solidarity with the 33-year-old.

Protesters chanted "you go home" at cops as one woman addressed the crowd through a megaphone.

But the standoff quickly escalated as officers moved in to arrest a protester on the bandstand.

CLASH ON THE COMMON

Loud cheers were heard as cops sprinted away from the crowds with dozens of officers making their way towards waiting vans.

However, cops later formed a circle as dozens of protesters swarmed around them.

A squad of officers led one detained man away from the area but were surrounded by disgruntled mourners.

Officers linked arms as they made their way from the park with the arrested man and were pursued by protesters.

Crowds cheered as officers arrived at a line of police vans with cries of "f**k the police" ringing out.

Chants of "the sisters united will never be defeated" then rang out in Clapham Common. 

One woman told the crowd: "The streets are ours," while a banner written in Spanish was unfurled reading "your indifference and  silence kills as well."

Mourners clashed with cops at the vigil in London tonight

Mourners clashed with cops at the vigil in London tonight

Police clashed with members of the public tonight

Police clashed with members of the public tonight

Night vigils in College Green, Bristol

Night vigils in College Green, Bristol

Crowds became visibly angered as chants continued

Crowds became visibly angered as chants continued

One mourner being taken away by cops

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One mourner being taken away by copsCredit: Jamie Lorriman

Clashes with the public underneath the bandstand, Clapham Common

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Clashes with the public underneath the bandstand, Clapham CommonCredit: Reuters

Police attempted to disperse members of the public

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Police attempted to disperse members of the publicCredit: London News Pictures

People clashed with the police in Clapham tonight

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People clashed with the police in Clapham tonightCredit: Reuters

Cops warned people to leave the Common for Covid safety reasons

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Cops warned people to leave the Common for Covid safety reasonsCredit: Reuters

Crowds flocked to the site and chanted in memory of Sarah Everard

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Crowds flocked to the site and chanted in memory of Sarah EverardCredit: London News Pictures

Crowds chanted as they paid their respects to Sarah

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Crowds chanted as they paid their respects to SarahCredit: Ian Whittaker - The Sun

People lit candles for Sarah tonight on Clapham Common

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People lit candles for Sarah tonight on Clapham CommonCredit: London News Pictures

Despite official vigils being cancelled, people took to the streets

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Despite official vigils being cancelled, people took to the streetsCredit: Jeff Moore

Hundreds of people gathered in solidarity

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Hundreds of people gathered in solidarityCredit: London News Pictures

Thousands of people across the country are mourning the death of the 33-year-old

Thousands of people across the country are mourning the death of the 33-year-old

People encircling the bandstand - where dozens of people have laid flowers

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People encircling the bandstand - where dozens of people have laid flowersCredit: Universal News & Sport

Home Secretary Priti Patel tonight called for a "full report" from the Met Police into the ordeal.

She wrote on Twitter: "Some of the footage circulating online from the vigil in Clapham is upsetting.

"I have asked the Metropolitan Police for a full report on what happened.

"My thoughts remain with Sarah’s family and friends at this terrible time."

And London's mayor Sadiq Khan also called the scenes at Clapham Common tonight "unacceptable."

Mr Khan 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."

Some of the footage circulating online from the vigil in Clapham is upsetting. I have asked the Metropolitan Police for a full report on what happened.

Priti Patel, Home Secretary

Meanwhile, leader of the Liberal Democrats Sir Ed Davey called for the Commissioner of the Met Police to resign after losing the "confidence of the millions of women."

In a letter to Dame Cressida Dick, the Lib Dems called tonight a "complete abject tactical and moral failure on the part of the police."

Earlier on Saturday, Kate Middleton paid tribute to Sarah Everard today at Clapham Common as she "remembers what it's like to walk in London alone."

The Duchess of Cambridge was among tearful mourners who gathered at the spot the 33-year-old was last seen before she went missing.

And hundreds of other mourners comforted one another while holding candles in Sarah's remembrance this evening.

A further 31 vigils were also due to take place at 6pm in cities across the UK - including Liverpool, Leeds, Birmingham, Belfast and Cardiff.


It comes as...

Sarah Everard disappeared while walking home to Brixton from Clapham last week Sarah's family said the 33-year-old was a "kind and beautiful" woman Wayne Couzens, 48, was taken to hospital with head injuries after being taken into custody The suspect was linked to an alleged sex offence three days before Sarah disappeared Organisers of a vigil for Sarah Everard have been left furious after the Met Police threatened them with fines under Covid rules CCTV from a London bus has helped cops in their investigations, it was reported A body found in Kent woodlands is confirmed to be that of missing Sarah Everard, police said yesterday Wayne Couzens, 48, today appeared in court charged on suspicion of her murder and kidnap

But the Met Police banned the event due to Covid restrictions with other forces following suit.

Campaign group Reclaim These Streets mounted a High Court challenge on Thursday but the High Court upheld the police's decision to block the event - forcing organisers to cancel vigils across the UK.

A second vigil for Sarah - planned in her home city tonight - was also cancelled due to Covid.

The gathering was due to take place outside York Minster at 6pm on Saturday but at the 11th hour supporters were asked to post a picture of a lighted candle on social media instead.

This evening, Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: "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."

Groups of people stood in vigil for Sarah Everard at locations around the UK, including Glasgow, Bristol and Nottingham.

The Duchess of Cambridge paid tribute to tragic Sarah Everard

The Duchess of Cambridge paid tribute to tragic Sarah Everard

Mourners lit candles for the 33-year-old

Mourners lit candles for the 33-year-old

Across the country, men and women paid their respects to Sarah

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Across the country, men and women paid their respects to SarahCredit: PA:Press Association

Women lay flowers on the steps of the Parkinson Building at the University of Leeds in West Yorkshire

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Women lay flowers on the steps of the Parkinson Building at the University of Leeds in West YorkshireCredit: PA:Press Association

Hundreds showed their respects to the 33-year-old

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Hundreds showed their respects to the 33-year-oldCredit: London News Pictures

Lambeth Police said tonight: "The gathering at Clapham Common is unsafe.

"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."

Despite the ban, a small, socially-distanced group laid flowers at the bandstand in Clapham Common this afternoon in moving scenes.

Some mourners were seen in tears as they gathered to pay tribute to the marketing manager, who vanished on March 3.

There was also police present in London during the daytime as people gathered to pay their respects.

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.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

It comes after Reclaim the Streets slammed the police after revealing they were threatened with a £10,000 fine under Covid laws if the events went ahead.

They also accused cops of being "unwilling to engage" and urged people to "shine a light" in a doorstep vigil at 9.30pm.

The campaign group said it joined people across the country "shining a light - a candle, a torch, a phone - to remember Sarah Everard and all the women affected by and lost to violence".

A fundraising page they launched has already raised more than £240,000 for women's charities.

The Met Police said they took "no joy" in the cancellation but insisted it was the "right thing to do".

Crowds continue to form despite police warnings

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Crowds continue to form despite police warningsCredit: w8media

Crowds chanted as they stood in solidarity

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Crowds chanted as they stood in solidarityCredit: w8media

Greater Manchester Police said they were "shocked and saddened" about Sarah's death but warned "gathering in large groups is still unlawful".

Merseyside Police thanked organisers for postponing a vigil due to be held in Liverpool city centre tonight.

In a tweet, the force said: "We would like to thank the organisers of the Reclaim These Streets vigil for postponing their event until a time when it is safe and legal to do so without fear of attributing to potential spread of the coronavirus."

While West Midlands Police said: "We understand the strength of feeling and people’s desire to come together to mourn and show respect to Sarah Everard as well as to make a statement and organise on the issue of women’s safety.

"We’d ask that anyone who is considering still turning up later, or arranging their own event, remembers that current Covid-19 regulations do not permit large gatherings because of the very real risks of the spread of the virus."

People gather to lay flowers in Clapham Common in remembrance to Sarah Everard

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People gather to lay flowers in Clapham Common in remembrance to Sarah EverardCredit: w8media

Police officers at the site today

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Police officers at the site todayCredit: Alamy Live News

Scenes on the Common turned ugly tonight

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Scenes on the Common turned ugly tonightCredit: Reuters

Members of the public hold a candlelit vigil for Sarah Everard at the bandstand on Clapham Common in London this evening

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Members of the public hold a candlelit vigil for Sarah Everard at the bandstand on Clapham Common in London this eveningCredit: Jeff Moore

Despite Metropolitan Police warnings hundreds of people gathered on Clapham Common

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Despite Metropolitan Police warnings hundreds of people gathered on Clapham CommonCredit: Alamy Live News

Caitlin Prowle, of Reclaim These Streets said the group didn't wanted to end up in a situation they were having to raise funds to pay fines, rather than for charitable causes.

She added: "The police's lack of co-operation and unwillingness to engage with us to find a compromise means that we can't go forward in good faith.

"We can't put our supporters at risk, quite frankly we can't put ourselves at risk in that way, and so really they've left us with no other option.

Reclaim the Streets statement in full

We have been in discussions with the Metropolitan Police since day one of planning today's vigil.

Following yesterday's hearing, we continued those discussions, and repeated tried to find a way forward for the event.

At our meeting yesterday evening we made many suggestions, including staggering start times, splitting the event into time slots and several other ideas to accommodate police concerns - as well as asking the police for their own suggestions. We have made every effort to reach a positive outcome that applies proportionality, so that we could find an appropriate balance between our right as women to freedom of assembly and expression with the regulations set out in Covid regulations.

We have been very disappointed that given the many opportunities to engage with organisers constructively, the Metropolitan Police have been unwilling to commit to anything. While we have had positive discussions with the Lambeth officers present, those from Scotland Yard would not engage with our suggestions to help ensure that a legal, Covid-secure vigil could take place.

It remains our view that with the appropriate mutually agreed measures in place, this evening's vigil on Clapham Common would have been safe and in life with restrictions and safety regulations.
However, in light of the lack of constructive engagement from the Metropolitan Police, we do not feel that we can in good faith allow tonight's even to go ahead.

As the event has now been cancelled, we would strongly encourage people not to gather this evening on Clapham Common.

Despite the court judgment, the feedback from police is that doing so may place yourself legally at risk. Furthermore, the Covid-secure event marshalling we would have provided will now not be taking place.

We will be announcing the details of a virtual gathering later today and would encourage all those originally planning to join us on Clapham Common to take part.

We intend to publish open advice later today from our lawyers which may be helpful to others who have organised vigils around the country and been approached with misleading interpretations of the ruling by their local Police force.

We appreciate the outpouring of support over the past 48 hours, and we are clear that women's voices will not be silenced, now or ever.
We were told that pressing ahead could risk at £10,000 fine each for women organising. Even if we came to this amazing community for help in meeting those costs, we think that this would be a poor use of our and your money.

We do not want to see hundreds of thousands of pounds contributed to a system that consistently fails to keep women safe - either in public spaces or in the privacy or their homes.

Women's rights are too important. So instead, we are setting up a fundraisers to raise the money we would have been liable for in fines to donate to supporting women's causes around the country. We will also be donating the remaining funds of our legal costs crowdfunder to this charitable fund.

Our goal is £320,000 which is £10,000 for each location where vigils were expected to go ahead.

And finally but most importantly, we would like to end by expressing our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Sarah Everard.
Among the to-and-fro with police, the court case and pundits, sometimes the news stops feeling personal.

We want to remember that at the heart of this story is a young woman who isn't going home tonight, and a family who have lost a daughter and a sister.

"We are not willing to go to this amazing community and say we need you to help us with our hundreds of thousands of pounds in fines."

She said the money would "just go straight back into a system" that "continues to fail" women.

Campaigners for the vigil sought a declaration on the "correct legal position" from the High Court yesterday over the current lockdown laws, which neither ban nor allow protests.

But judge Mr Justice Holgate said it would not be "appropriate for the court" to make the declaration sought.

People gather in Clapham this evening - despite the official vigil being cancelled

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People gather in Clapham this evening - despite the official vigil being cancelledCredit: Universal News & Sport

Sarah vanished as she walked home on March 3

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Sarah vanished as she walked home on March 3Credit: Enterprise News and Pictures

Sarah's tragedy has sparked social movements online

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Sarah's tragedy has sparked social movements onlineCredit: PA:Press Association

Reclaim These Streets said it had originally received a positive response from the Met Police and Lambeth Council over holding a vigil.

However, police bosses later changed their position saying the event would be unlawful and that the organisers would face a £10,000 fine under new coronavirus laws.

Sarah's death has prompted an outpouring of grief from the public, with many women and girls sharing stories online of experiencing violence by men.

The vigils were designed to show that women should feel safe no matter the time of day.

TRAGIC END

It comes as armed cop Wayne Couzens was last night charged with Sarah's kidnap and murder.

He appeared in court today where it was said Sarah's body was discovered in a builder's bag in Ashford, Kent.

Sarah's family on Thursday paid tribute to their "bright and beautiful daughter and sister".

In a statement, Sarah's family said: "Our beautiful daughter Sarah was taken from us and we are appealing for any information that will help to solve this terrible crime.

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"Sarah was bright and beautiful - a wonderful daughter and sister. She was kind and thoughtful, caring and dependable. She always put others first and had the most amazing sense of humour.

"She was strong and principled and a shining example to us all. We are very proud of her and she brought so much joy to our lives.

"We would like to thank our friends and family for all their support during this awful time and we would especially like to thank Sarah’s friends who are working tirelessly to help."

Sarah Everard went missing a week ago and human remains have now been found

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Sarah Everard went missing a week ago and human remains have now been foundCredit: PA:Press Association

Cop Wayne Couzens, 48, has been charged with murder and kidnap

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Cop Wayne Couzens, 48, has been charged with murder and kidnapCredit: SWNS:South West News Service

Sarah Everard news latest – Wayne Couzens charged with the kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard

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