London Mayor Sadiq Khan has joined the chorus of criticism against alleged mishandling of predominantly female protesters by predominantly male police officers at a vigil for Sarah Everard, allegedly killed by a London police officer.
Police swept into a main vigil near where Everard was last seen and forcibly arrested many women on the grounds they were breaching COVID-19 restrictions. “The scenes from the policing of the vigil for Sarah Everard held on Clapham Common last night were completely unacceptable,” Khan said in a statement released Sunday. “I can completely understand why women, girls and allies wanted to hold a vigil to remember Sarah and all women who have been subjected to violence or lost their lives at the hands of men, and to reclaim the public spaces where women are made to feel so unsafe.”
The mayor went on to say he had been given assurances by the police to allow the vigil to be held “legally and safely.” He said that in his view, “this was not the case.” Khan then called upon the incident to be investigated by an independent police authority. “It is vital that these events are not allowed to undermine the powerful calls since Sarah‘s murder for meaningful action to finally stop men inflicting violence on women.”