If you had told me that a quiet, candlelit vigil for the death of a woman from south London would end with the police hauling women away in handcuffs, I would have stared at you in amazement. And yet on Saturday night that is exactly what happened.
I am still reacting with horror whenever photos of the heavy-handed police response cross my timelines.
How could this have been about safety, when other vigils for Sarah Everard, in Nottingham and elsewhere, happened without incident and with COVID-19 in mind? And when the consequences of police action to break up the vigil on Clapham Common, near where Sarah went missing, was always going to be to force attendees closer together?
At every stage, the Metropolitan Police had the opportunity to make sure that this gathering was as safe as possible for everyone involved, in close communication with those organisers from Reclaim These Streets who just wanted space to grieve their lost sister.
Instead the police chose to obstruct and frustrate the right to peaceful assembly and caused these distressing and disgusting scenes. It is difficult to imagine after this spectacle how the Met commissioner, Cressida Dick, and the mayor and home secretary who jointly govern that post, could not be considering her position, and those of others in the leadership of the Met.Print