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Sarah Everard vigil: Priti Patel demands full report after Metropolitan Police’s ‘upsetting’ response

Crowds gather in Clapham to pay tribute to Sarah Everard

Hundreds of people gathered at Clapham Common to pay tribute despite police warnings that it was “unsafe” for them to be there due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Footage posted to social media showed officers dragging a row of women away from the bandstand on the common, which has been filled with flowers for Ms Everard. Another photograph captured a young woman being restrained face down on a floor by two police officers.

Members of the crowd could be heard shouting “shame on you” and “you are scum” after the brief clash, while one woman screamed “you’re supposed to protect us”.

The scenes were widely criticised by MPs from all parties, including Labour leader Keir Starmer and Lib Dem leader Ed Davey, who said Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick should consider resigning.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan described the incident as “unacceptable” and said he would be seeking an explanation from the commissioner personally.

A string of MPs, including Labour’s shadow equalities minister Charlotte Nichols, said officers should have “put the resources” into assisting Reclaim These Streets to create a Covid-safe event rather than “stopping any collective show of grief”. Lib Dem MP Wera Hobhouse posted a video of officers handling women, asking: “Is this really 21st century Britain? What is our police doing?”

The group said: “The Metropolitan failed to work with us despite the High Court ruling yesterday that a vigil could potentially go ahead lawfully. In doing so they created a risky and unsafe situation.”

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Welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of the Sarah Everard vigil, as a Clapham Common event has been shut down by the Metropolitan Police.

Bethany Dawson13 March 2021 13:38
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A vigil on Clapham Common – where Sarah Everard Sarah Everard was last seen alive – has been cancelled, organisers have said.

Organisers from Reclaim These Streets, the organisation hosting the vigil, said: “Update: We are sorry to confirm that our Clapham vigil scheduled for tonight is cancelled.”

They added: “Instead, we are fundraising £320,000 for women’s causes: £10K for every proposed fine for the 32 vigils originally scheduled.”

Commander Catherine Roper, the Met’s lead for Community Engagement, said: “I would like to thank the organisers of tonight’s vigil in Clapham Common for cancelling the gathering. Since Sarah’s disappearance, we have shared Londoners anguish, shock and sadness at the truly awful circumstances of her disappearance and death.

Bethany Dawson13 March 2021 13:41
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Police officer charged for kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard

Wayne Couzens, a service Metropolitan Police officer, has been charged with the kidnapping and murder of Sarah Everard.

The 48-year-old man from Deal, Kent, was brought before Westminster Magistrates Court this morning.

Ms Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive who lived in Brixton, South London, went missing while walking home from a friend’s flat on 3 March. She was last seen alive in Clapham Common, London.

Mr Couzens will appear before the Old Bailey on 16 March.

Bethany Dawson13 March 2021 13:47
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Plans for an alternative vigil are underway

Plans for an alternative vigil are underway as the Metropolitan Police bar the hosting of an in-person event due to public safety.

Reclaim the Streets, the organisation that was hosting the original gathering, is now hosting a door-step vigil, wherein people across the country are encouraged to stand at their doorstep with a candle at 9:30pm.

Activist Gina Martin – who successfully campaigned to make upskirting illegal in 2018 (resulting in the 2019 Voyeurism Act) – has taken to Twitter to encourage others to attend the Covid-19 safe vigil.

Bethany Dawson13 March 2021 14:00
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Reclaim the Streets raise over £200,000 for women’s causes in memory of Sarah Everard

Originally, the money raised would go towards supporting people pay police fines should the in-person vigil on Clapham Common have gone ahead, as the Metropolitan Police estimated a £10,000 fine each for each woman organising. 

Now, as the force has told the organisation that the event cannot go ahead due to public safety concerns, the money is being distributed to charitable causes supporting women affected by violence.

Bethany Dawson13 March 2021 14:45
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MP calls the cancelling of in-person vigil “unbelievable”

MP condemns the Metropolitan Police’s decision to ban an in-person vigil tonight on Clapham Common is “unbelievable”.

Munira Wilson, Lib Dem MP for Twickenham has tweeted that the fact “women to take a stand on their personal safety is not allowed” is “unbelievable.

Bethany Dawson13 March 2021 15:00
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Clapham Common bandstand covered in flowers for Sarah Everard

A large bandstand at Clapham Common, both were Sarah Everard was last seen alive and where the in-person vigil was scheduled to take place, has been covered with flowers in memory of the 33-year-old.

Creating a moving and emotional atmosphere, many people are taking to the South London green space to leave tributes to Ms Everard

Bethany Dawson13 March 2021 15:15
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Court hears Sarah Everard body was found in bag

The court has heard that the remains of Sarah Everard were found in a bag in a forest.

New information coming from the court hearing of Wayne Couzens, who appeared in person before Westminster Magistrates’ Court, details how the body of Ms Everard was found.

Bethany Dawson13 March 2021 16:15
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Brighton vigil cancelled

Organisers of a vigil for Sarah Everard in Brighton have cancelled the event, stating that they do not want to pose a risk to attendees safety.

This comes as Reclaim Our Streets – the organisation behind the vigils – encourages people to host and attend doorstep or virtual vigils in like of the risk from the pandemic.

Bethany Dawson13 March 2021 16:25
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Duchess of Cambridge pays respects at Clapham Common bandstand

The Duchess of Cambridge has been seen paying her respects to Sarah Everard at the Clapham Common bandstand which is now full of flowers.

A video of Kate, wife of Prince William, shows her adding to the collection of moving sentiments that surrounds the bandstand in South East London, where a vigil was planned to take place tonight.

Bethany Dawson13 March 2021 17:25
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Kate pauses in front of floral tributes on Clapham Common

The Duchess of Cambridge was seen pausing in front of floral tributes which had been laid at the bandstand in Clapham Common.

CNN’s Anna Stewart reports the following:

Sam Hancock13 March 2021 17:42
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Reclaim These Streets raised close to £300,000 for women’s charities

A fundraiser by the organisation hosting many now-cancelled vigils has raised almost £300,000 for women’s charities, drawing close to their £320,000 target.

The money was originally earmarked to go towards paying potential police fines against organisers, but now in-person events are cancelled, the raised funds will go towards a collection of women’s aid charities.

One donator wrote – alongside a £40 donation – “It’s so very very sad and actually pathetic that women are not safe to walk alone. I worry about my daughter whenever she is coming home from London. The poor beautiful Sarah should not have suffered.”

Bethany Dawson13 March 2021 17:45
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Duchess of Cambridge pays tribute at Clapham Common

The Duchess of Cambridge has visited Clapham Common to pay tribute to Sarah Everard, and was seen pausing to look at flowers laid at a memorial, writes Sam Hancock.

Kensington Palace said Kate wanted to join the hundreds of people gathered on the Common so she could “pay her respects to the family and to Sarah”.

“She remembers what is was like to walk around London at night before she was married,” the palace added.

Jon Sharman13 March 2021 18:20
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Decision to cancel vigil ‘makes no sense,’ says Labour MP

Labour MP for Streatham Bell Ribeiro-Addy tweeted her support for the vigil at Clapham Common, saying the police’s decision to cancel it “makes no sense”.

Sam Hancock13 March 2021 18:34
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Hundreds gather at Clapham Common despite event being cancelled

Hundreds of people have gathered at Clapham Common this evening to honour the life of Sarah Everard, who was killed after she walked home from a friend’s house on 3 March.

Many laid flowers, adding to the growing floral tribute at the Common’s bandstand, while others chanted.

“Sisters united will never be defeated,” was one slogan that could be heard.

Some held placards reading “we will not be silenced”, and “she was just walking home”.

An official vigil, organised by Reclaim These Streets, was meant to take place at the same location tonight but it was cancelled after police threatened to fine organisers £10,000 each.

Sam Hancock13 March 2021 18:40
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Sarah Everard campaign raises more than £320,000 in one day

A fundraising campaign set up on Saturday morning by Reclaim These Streets has already surpassed its target of £320,000.

The figure stood at £337,406 just before 7pm this evening, as crowds gathered at Clapham Common to remember Sarah Everard.

The money will be donated to “women’s charitable causes,” according to those who set it up.

Sam Hancock13 March 2021 18:59
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Johnson and Sturgeon among those joining virtual vigil

England and Scotland’s leaders have tweeted their support for the virtual vigil for Sarah Everard, which organisers suggested as a replacement for events cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions.

Boris Johnson said he and Carrie Symonds, his fiancee, would “be lighting a candle” for Everard, while Nicola Sturgeon shared an image of hers already lit.

Sam Hancock13 March 2021 19:06
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‘Treat violence against women as a political priority,’ urges Women’s Equality Party

Mandu Reid, leader of the Women’s Equality Party, has said violence against women and girls is “akin to a form of domestic terrorism”.

Speaking at Feminists of London’s virtual vigil, the politician said: “The pain and poignancy of this moment lies in the devastating fact that all women and every girl lives under the perpetual threat that what happened to Sarah could happen to any one of us.

“The reality for women and girls is that the harassment we experience, which is as omnipresent as the air we breathe, could escalate at any time.”

She continued: “I am done with empty platitudes from political leaders from across the spectrum who treat male violence like a tragic but inevitable force of nature, as if they haven’t spent years slashing budgets to prevention programmes and support services.”

Ms Reid added: “Piecemeal measures and individual actions do matter and do make a difference but let’s be real, they won’t turn the tide on this.

“The way to truly honour Sarah and every other woman we’ve lost is to demand that politicians of all stripes treat violence against women and girls as a political and policing priority.”

Sam Hancock13 March 2021 19:23
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Footage shows police pushing crowd at Clapham Common vigil

Footage posted to social media shows police officers pushing people back as the vigil on Clapham Common appears to take a violent turn.

Chants of “f*** the police” can be heard, as one woman shouts: “You’re supposed to protect us!”

It was not immediately clear why the officers began shoving people. There were boos, jeers and shouts of “shame on you” from the crowd as the police officers attempted to walk towards the bandstand.

It was a similar story in Bristol, where a female police officer was booed for asking one member of the crowd to leave the vigil, saying she risks her life to be out dispersing crowds in a pandemic.

A woman could be heard shouting back: “You risk your life every night, love.”

Groups of people gathered for Sarah Everard at locations around the UK, including Glasgow, Bristol and Nottingham, despite the police and Boris Johnson asking everyone to stay at home.

Sam Hancock13 March 2021 19:33
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Clapham vigil ‘unsafe,’ police say as officers urge crowd to go home

Police have deemed the gathering at Clapham Common “unsafe”, and are now urging people to go home.

Sam Hancock13 March 2021 19:36