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Shock and anger at Met response to Sarah Everard vigil in Clapham

Shock and anger is mounting against the Met’s handling of a vigil for murdered south Londoner Sarah Everard.

A planned demonstration was cancelled by organisers Reclaim These Streets after the Met tried to ban the protest due to COVID-19 laws, saying it was unsafe.

Many women still turned out to protest and show solidarity with campaigners, with some arrested and dragged away by police, amid mounting public fury at the police’s ‘disturbing’ response.

One widely circulated image showed a woman being pinned down and handcuffed by officers.

In a statement on Twitter, Lambeth MPS said the vigil at the bandstand was ‘unsafe’ with crowds ‘tightly packed’.

“Hundreds of people are tightly packed together in breach of the regulations and risking public health,” the statement said.

“We are urging people to go home and we thank those who have been engaging with officers and who are leaving.”

Earlier this evening Commissioner Cressida Dick had urged “people to express their sadness and their solidarity and their really strong feelings about women’s safety in other ways.”

The vigil’s organisers had appealed to the police to work with them to keep the event as safe as possible, but lost a High Court challenge against a police ban on the demonstration.

Labour leader Keir Starmer described the police response in Clapham as “deeply disturbing… this was not the way to police this protest”.

Camberwell and Peckham MP Harriet Harman said the Met had ‘mishandled’ the vigil from the beginning, and criticised its decision to not engage with its organisers. 


Sadiq 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 and urgently seeking an explanation.”


Home secretary Priti Patel said: “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.”


Green Party mayoral candidate Sian Berry said: “Failure upon failure from Met leadership.

“There was literally no chance of this being a violent event if it had been left in peace.

“And given what prompted it, these scenes are just abhorrent and traumatic to see for so many of us.

“They will be held to account.”

Across the country women lit candles on their doorsteps in Sarah’s memory, as they called for urgent change.

Since her disappearance while walking home on Wednesday, March 3, women have shared their stories of sexual harassment, sexual assault, safety fears and hyper-vigilance in public.




  1. This reminds me of how everyone came out to protest the George Floyd murder in the US in the middle of the pandemic. People came out in huge numbers and protested. Same here – people came out and protested the egregious murder of a young woman by someone who the public trusted to protect the public. Sorry, but somethings egregious things happen during the pandemic and people need to gather to say, No More.

  2. The combination of Cressida Dick and Khan in London has made the city a dangerous place for all . Khan has spent all the money he has for the police on cycle lanes and roadworks and nothing on female safe places. He has supported the white male minority cycle lobby over all others. They both need to go

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