Arrests as police clash with crowds at cancelled vigil for Sarah Everard
Arrests have been made at a memorial for Sarah Everard after clashes between police and crowds on Clapham Common.
Scotland Yard is facing criticism for its handling of the gathering after a planned vigil was cancelled due to officers saying it risked breaching lockdown rules.
Hundreds gathered on the common in south London regardless, but the sombre atmosphere turned to one of anger and protest as the evening progressed, with angry scuffles after those attending were urged to go home.
One video posted online showed Met Police officers grabbing women standing on the common’s bandstand before leading them away, to screaming and shouting from onlookers.
Streatham MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy tweeted footage of the clashes, saying: "This could have been the socially distanced vigil the community needed to remember Sarah and all the women who have lost their lives to violence.
"We knew what was going to happen if the event was shut down.
"I know Lambeth Borough officers made efforts to compromise with the organisers but were overruled from high up.
"They’ll be left to deal with the fallout of this and the further burden it places on already strained community relationships. Very disappointing from Scotland Yard."
Police said the gathering was "unsafe" and was a breach of coronavirus regulations.
A tweet from the Lambeth police account said: "The gathering at #ClaphamCommon is unsafe. Hundreds of people are tightly packed together in breach of the regulations and risking public health.
"We are urging people to go home and we thank those who have been engaging with officers and who are leaving."
The ugly scenes came ahead of a planned nationwide tribute to Ms Everard, with organisers of the vigil having asked people to instead shine a light on their doorstep at 9.30pm.
Among those to take part will be Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who tweeted: "Tonight Carrie and I will be lighting a candle for Sarah Everard and thinking of her family and friends. I cannot imagine how unbearable their pain and grief is. We must work fast to find all the answers to this horrifying crime."
Wayne Couzens, a Metropolitan Police officer, appeared in person before Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Saturday charged with her kidnap and murder.
(c) Sky News 2021: Arrests as police clash with crowds at cancelled vigil for Sarah Everard