Monday 15 March 2021 8:28 pm

Londoners protest against police after Sarah Everard vigil disruption in Clapham

Protesters voiced their anger at men’s violence against women and heavy-handed policing following the murder of Londoner Sarah Everard as they demonstrated outside police headquarters, Parliament and the Prime Minister’s office today.

Everard, 33, was abducted as she walked from Clapham towards her home in Brixton on 3 March, and a Metropolitan Police officer has been charged with her kidnap and murder.

Met Police Criticised Over Response To Sarah Everard Vigil
Members of the public hold up signs during a protest in Parliament Square against the The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill and criticising the actions of the police at Saturday night’s vigil (Getty Images)

The tragedy has  sparked a national debate over how British society deals with male violence against women.

Demonstrators today gathered outside Parliament where MPs were debating a bill that has been criticised for potentially handing police too much power to restrict peaceful protests.

It comes days after the Met were slammed for using too much force against protestors at a vigil for Everard in Clapham Common on Saturday evening. 

Met Police Criticised Over Response To Sarah Everard Vigil
The Metropolitan Police is being criticised for its response to the vigil, where they forcibly arrested several participants for violations of pandemic-era rules on public assembly. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The protesters  briefly blocked traffic on nearby Westminster Bridge before gathering outside New Scotland Yard, the headquarters of the Met, and moving on to Boris Johnson’s Downing Street office.

Holding signs reading “Educate your sons” and “End violence against women”, protesters stood opposite a line of police outside New Scotland Yard, chanting “Sisters united will never be defeated” and “Who protects us from you?”, Reuters reported.

Met Police Criticised Over Response To Sarah Everard Vigil
Protestors gathered in Parliament Square as MPs voted on the bill (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Political focus has shifted onto London’s police force after officers tried to disperse a vigil for Everard on Saturday, saying it breached Covid-19 lockdown rules. They scuffled with mourners and dragged women away in handcuffs.

Monday’s protest proceeded for several hours without the same heavy-handed police tactics, following widespread criticism of Saturday’s events and calls for the Met’s chief to resign.

“They came with flowers, you came with force,” read one protester’s sign.