British protesters oppose the ban on showing respect to the victim Sarah Everard
With signs reading “We will not be silenced” and “She just went home”, a crowd of around 1,000 defied a ban to pay their respects to murder victim Sarah Everard on Saturday night in London.
Police first watched women beat drums and sing “Sisters, United, We Will Never Be Defeated” in Clapham Common. A park official believes Everard went through the night she disappeared. The bandstand there has become a spontaneous memorial in which mourners left a sea of flowers, cards, candles and other honors, reported the Spiegel.
Earlier in the day, Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, put flowers in Everard’s memory and issued a statement saying, “She remembers what it was like to walk around London the night before her wedding.”
Everard’s murder sparked national outrage over the safety of women.
Officials were mocked as they moved in to end the tribute to the 33-year-old marketing director. The march was mostly attended by women who also protested the unsafe conditions they feel on the streets of London. The crowd booked the cops and sang, “Let’s be!” and “Police are going home!” Some police officers spat swearwords as they dragged demonstrators away.
“This could have been the socially distant vigil the community needed to remember Sarah and all the women who lost their lives to violence.” tweeted Bell Ribeiro-Addy, a MP who attended the event and shared a video of the confrontations. “We knew what would happen when the event closed.”
Organizers of a group called “Reclaim the Streets” were denied permission to attend the event due to coronavirus restrictions. They said they were threatened with a fine of about $ 140,000 for holding the vigil, The Sun reported.
The tensions also reflected the fact that a London police officer, Wayne Couzens, 48, is accused of kidnapping and murdering Everard.
Everard’s body was found Wednesday, nine days after she disappeared while walking home from a friend’s apartment. Couzens was silent on his first court appearance on Saturday, with the exception of confirming his identity. His attorney has not made a plea before another hearing scheduled for Tuesday.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he and 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 that women and girls are not harassed or abused,” he said.
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