Hundreds gathered in Parliament Square in London on Sunday for a further vigil in honour of Sarah Everard – the marketing executive murdered on 3rd March, allegedly by serving police officer Wayne Couzens – after clashes broke out between protesters and police at a vigil in Clapham on Saturday.
Feminist protest group Sisters Uncut organised the event, following heavy-handed policing of a vigil honouring Sarah Everard in Clapham on Saturday, which resulted in four arrests.
“Last night we tried to have a peaceful vigil to mourn Sarah Everard,” the group tweeted, “instead we were brutalised by the colleagues of the man suspected of her murder.”
Last night we tried to have a peaceful vigil to mourn Sarah Everard
Instead we were brutalised by the colleagues of the man suspected of her murder
Join us for another vigil tonight @ 4pm, New Scotland Yard
The event centred around the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts bill. The new legislation (to be debated in parliament on Monday) proposes to strengthen police powers to tackle non-violent protests – will be such as imposing start and finish times, maximum noise levels and ensuring road ways stay open on the parliamentary estate.
The bill has been condemned by MPs from across the House of Commons, Labour MP Nadia Whittome, who was at the protest, noting the risk it posed to rights and freedoms in the UK.
“The bill is the biggest assault on our rights and freedoms to protest in recent history,” she said, previously stating: “the sadly ironic thing is if this bill passes this week, we are not going to be able to protest parliament any more.”
Congregating at New Scotland Yard, the headquarters of London’s Metropolitan police, demonstrators marched to Parliament Square, chanting “kill the bill” and other slogans targeting Home Secretary Priti Patel.
Organisers then addressed the crowd, and a list of names of women who have died in police custody (and in prison), or were killed by police officers was read out. Demonstrators lay down on the floor in tribute to, before a minute’s silence was held for Sarah Everard.
A spokesperson for Sisters Uncut said that “we came out again today because the violence from the Met police yesterday told us that not only are we not safe in the streets from strangers but that police are also the perpetuator.”
At the protest, demonstrators called for the resignation of Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, who was publicly rebuked by Priti Patel and London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan about the police’s handling of the vigil in Clapham.
In an interview on Sunday, Dick stated that she had no plans to resign.