Hours after the police officer charged with killing of a 33-year-old woman appeared before court, thousands of Londoners took to streets and clashed with Police on Saturday.
An impromptu memorial with flowers and candles sprang up around the bandstand on Clapham Common in southwest London, near where Everard was last seen alive. Kate, Britain’s Duchess of Cambridge, also paid respects. A palace official said Kate “remembers what it was like to walk around London at night before she was married”.
With Sarah Everard’s disappearance as she walked home on the evening of March 3, women were told about the dangers of walking streets alone at night. Later it was known that she was murdered and the man arrested in connection with Everard’s murder was a police officer. However, the murder has shocked the country and brought discussion around women’s safety to the fore once again.
By late Saturday over thousand people mostly women gathered at the site to pay their respects and marked their protest at the lack of security they felt when out alone. Mourners shouted “shame on you” at police.
As tensions mounted, police dragged several women away from the gathering on Clapham Common. Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball said that four people were arrested for public order offences and added that they absolutely did not want to be in a position where enforcement action was necessary.
“But we were placed in this position because of the overriding need to protect people’s safety” London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the officers’ response “was at times neither appropriate or proportionate” and added that he was seeking an urgent explanation from Dick.