Sarah Everard: Protestors gather in Parliament Square for third night against anti-women violence

Protestors have gathered in Parliament Square for the third night of demonstrations against anti-women violence in the wake of Sarah Everard‘s alleged murder.

Today’s demonstration in Parliament Square started with around 200 people attending, but numbers quickly grew to around 800.   

Protestors then marched out of the square and staged a sit down protest on Westminster Bridge holding up the traffic while screaming obscenities against the Conservative Party, Boris Johnson, Priti Patel and police.

Police looked on helplessly as protestors swarmed across the bridge, demonstrators remained on the bridge for around 10 minutes before moving on. Shortly after, crowds briefly sat in the road, chanting: ‘If you won’t give us justice, we won’t give you peace.’

The crowd moved on to New Scotland Yard, where around 30 officers were stood behind metal barriers raised to protect the entrance to Met Police’s headquarters.

Demonstrators chanted ‘shame on you,’ while pointing at uniformed officers, before moving on to protest outside the entrance to House of Commons, where they began shouting: ‘Black lives matter.’

The focus of the protest has also shifted to opposition against anti-protest laws set out in the The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which could allow officers to intervene in events that are deemed to have caused ‘serious unease, alarm or distress’. The bill is set to be discussed on Tuesday. 

Many in the crowd waved Extinction Rebellion flags while others held up placards criticising the police, ‘capitalism,’ Brexit and an assortment of other global issues.

Scores of protestors laid flowers below a banner laid out in the square which declared: ‘We need to be seen and heard.’ 

A police helicopter hoovered overhead to monitor the vigil, which passed off peacefully. The vigil was organised by Sisters Uncut, the organisation that led Saturday night’s event.

Attendants at today’s protests have criticised Met Police’s handling of Saturday’s vigil, with scenes of police grappling with protestors described as ‘concerning,’ by Boris Johnson last night.

Crowds also gathered outside Cardiff Bay police station in Wales earlier today, blocking traffic.

As Priti Patel urges people to stay at home instead of protesting, one woman seen pinned to the ground at Saturday’s vigil said she wanted demonstrators to ‘get the message away from ”We are against the police,”‘.

Crowds gathered on Westminster Bridge, before sitting in the middle road and eventually moving on to New Scotland Yard

Crowds gathered on Westminster Bridge, before sitting in the middle road and eventually moving on to New Scotland Yard

Crowds gathered on Westminster Bridge, before sitting in the middle road and eventually moving on to New Scotland Yard 

Traffic was brought to a halt on Westminster Bridge this evening as demonstrators marched across the Thames, halting to raise placards and chant

Traffic was brought to a halt on Westminster Bridge this evening as demonstrators marched across the Thames, halting to raise placards and chant

Traffic was brought to a halt on Westminster Bridge this evening as demonstrators marched across the Thames, halting to raise placards and chant

Around 30 police officers stood behind metal fences as demonstrators staged a sit-down protest outside New Scotland Yard

Around 30 police officers stood behind metal fences as demonstrators staged a sit-down protest outside New Scotland Yard

Around 30 police officers stood behind metal fences as demonstrators staged a sit-down protest outside New Scotland Yard 

Around 200 protestors have gathered in Parliament Square this afternoon, it follows gatherings and marches outside New Scotland Yard yesterday, in opposition of violence against women

Around 200 protestors have gathered in Parliament Square this afternoon, it follows gatherings and marches outside New Scotland Yard yesterday, in opposition of violence against women

Around 200 protestors have gathered in Parliament Square this afternoon, it follows gatherings and marches outside New Scotland Yard yesterday, in opposition of violence against women

Women have been sharing their experiences of harassment in the wake of the death of Sarah Everard, 33, who vanished while walking home through Clapham on March 3

Women have been sharing their experiences of harassment in the wake of the death of Sarah Everard, 33, who vanished while walking home through Clapham on March 3

Women have been sharing their experiences of harassment in the wake of the death of Sarah Everard, 33, who vanished while walking home through Clapham on March 3

Crowds grew to around 800 in Parliament Square this evening, before moving on to Westminster Bridge, where they remained for around 10 minutes

Crowds grew to around 800 in Parliament Square this evening, before moving on to Westminster Bridge, where they remained for around 10 minutes

Crowds grew to around 800 in Parliament Square this evening, before moving on to Westminster Bridge, where they remained for around 10 minutes

Protesters pointed at officers as they chanted 'shame on you,' outside New Scotland Yard today, before sitting down in the road

Protesters pointed at officers as they chanted 'shame on you,' outside New Scotland Yard today, before sitting down in the road

Protesters pointed at officers as they chanted ‘shame on you,’ outside New Scotland Yard today, before sitting down in the road 

Around 800 men and women are attending today's protest, following similar scenes across London over the weekend

Around 800 men and women are attending today's protest, following similar scenes across London over the weekend

Around 800 men and women are attending today’s protest, following similar scenes across London over the weekend 

Various placards have been raised at the protest raising awareness of violence against women and girls, as groups lined up across the road to block traffic on Westminster Bridge

Various placards have been raised at the protest raising awareness of violence against women and girls, as groups lined up across the road to block traffic on Westminster Bridge

Various placards have been raised at the protest raising awareness of violence against women and girls, as groups lined up across the road to block traffic on Westminster Bridge

The crowd gathered today chanted: ‘Sisters United, will never be defeated.’

One of the organisers of the vigil, speaking through a megaphone accused the Metropolitan Police of unleashing ‘state violence on women’ on Saturday night.

As police officers looked on, the crowd roared and clapped as organisers called for stronger action to combat sexual crimes against women and accused the police force of ‘misogyny.’

Labour MP Zarah Sultana was among the speakers when protesters were gathered in Parliament Square, over the weekend she tweeted: ‘I was always going to vote against the Police, Crime, Sentencing & Courts Bill. Amongst much else, it attacks the right to protest. But because women held a defiant vigil at Clapham Common yesterday, Labour will now vote against it too. Don’t underestimate the power of protest.’ 

Patsy Stevenson, the flame-haired protester who was seen being pinned on the ground by two policemen in images that went viral on Saturday night, said earlier today that she was ‘terrified’ by the officers’ behaviour, but refused to call Dame Cressida’s resignation. 

She told Good Morning Britain: ‘As someone who stands up for women’s rights I think we need to get the message away from ”We are against the police” and focus on how we need to open a new dialogue to protect women’s safety.’ 

Crowds chanted 'black lives matter' outside the Houses of Parliament earlier today, as protestors raised various issues during the demonstration

Crowds chanted 'black lives matter' outside the Houses of Parliament earlier today, as protestors raised various issues during the demonstration

Crowds chanted ‘black lives matter’ outside the Houses of Parliament earlier today, as protestors raised various issues during the demonstration

Campaigners chanted 'kill the bill,' as signs called for the end of violence against women. Demonstrators raised a banner outside New Scotland Yard this evening

Campaigners chanted 'kill the bill,' as signs called for the end of violence against women. Demonstrators raised a banner outside New Scotland Yard this evening

Campaigners chanted ‘kill the bill,’ as signs called for the end of violence against women. Demonstrators raised a banner outside New Scotland Yard this evening

Tonight's demonstration saw protesters move from Parliament Square to Westminster Bridge, to New Scotland Yard and later towards Soho

Tonight's demonstration saw protesters move from Parliament Square to Westminster Bridge, to New Scotland Yard and later towards Soho

Tonight’s demonstration saw protesters move from Parliament Square to Westminster Bridge, to New Scotland Yard and later towards Soho

While crowds gathered in London, demonstrators in Wales blocked the road outside Cardiff Bay police station earlier today

While crowds gathered in London, demonstrators in Wales blocked the road outside Cardiff Bay police station earlier today

While crowds gathered in London, demonstrators in Wales blocked the road outside Cardiff Bay police station earlier today

Protesters in Wales wore masks and gathered in solidarity with other marches calling for an end to violence against women

Protesters in Wales wore masks and gathered in solidarity with other marches calling for an end to violence against women

Protesters in Wales wore masks and gathered in solidarity with other marches calling for an end to violence against women

Demonstrations have grown since a vigil for Sarah Everard saw women restrained by police as they paid their respects to the 33-year-old. Wayne Couzens, a 48-year-old Met Police officer, has been charged over her murder

Demonstrations have grown since a vigil for Sarah Everard saw women restrained by police as they paid their respects to the 33-year-old. Wayne Couzens, a 48-year-old Met Police officer, has been charged over her murder

Demonstrations have grown since a vigil for Sarah Everard saw women restrained by police as they paid their respects to the 33-year-old. Wayne Couzens, a 48-year-old Met Police officer, has been charged over her murder

Protesters gathered in Parliament Square at around 5pm on Monday, marching over Westminster Bridge, before crossing it again as they headed to New Scotland Yard

Protesters gathered in Parliament Square at around 5pm on Monday, marching over Westminster Bridge, before crossing it again as they headed to New Scotland Yard

Protesters gathered in Parliament Square at around 5pm on Monday, marching over Westminster Bridge, before crossing it again as they headed to New Scotland Yard

Hours after Priti Patel encouraged people not to protest during the Covid-19 crisis, crowds could be heard chanting obscenities against the Conservative Party, Boris Johnson, Ms Patel and police officers

Hours after Priti Patel encouraged people not to protest during the Covid-19 crisis, crowds could be heard chanting obscenities against the Conservative Party, Boris Johnson, Ms Patel and police officers

Hours after Priti Patel encouraged people not to protest during the Covid-19 crisis, crowds could be heard chanting obscenities against the Conservative Party, Boris Johnson, Ms Patel and police officers

Protesters have cried 'abolish the police' while outside New Scotland Yard, while others said constabularies need to be defunded, similar cries were made during demonstrations last year

Protesters have cried 'abolish the police' while outside New Scotland Yard, while others said constabularies need to be defunded, similar cries were made during demonstrations last year

Protesters have cried ‘abolish the police’ while outside New Scotland Yard, while others said constabularies need to be defunded, similar cries were made during demonstrations last year

Labour has vowed to vote against the The Police, Crime , Sentencing and Courts Bill, which will be debated in Parliament tomorrow. Protesters gathered in Westminster today

Labour has vowed to vote against the The Police, Crime , Sentencing and Courts Bill, which will be debated in Parliament tomorrow. Protesters gathered in Westminster today

Labour has vowed to vote against the The Police, Crime , Sentencing and Courts Bill, which will be debated in Parliament tomorrow. Protesters gathered in Westminster today

Police have been criticised at the protests in London, however, one woman who was seen being restrained at the vigil in Clapham Common Saturday said: 'We need to get the message away from ''We are against the police'''

Police have been criticised at the protests in London, however, one woman who was seen being restrained at the vigil in Clapham Common Saturday said: 'We need to get the message away from ''We are against the police'''

Police have been criticised at the protests in London, however, one woman who was seen being restrained at the vigil in Clapham Common Saturday said: ‘We need to get the message away from ”We are against the police”’

As around 100 police officers looked on, the crowd roared and clapped as organisers called for stronger action to combat sexual crimes against women and accused the police force of ‘misogyny'

As around 100 police officers looked on, the crowd roared and clapped as organisers called for stronger action to combat sexual crimes against women and accused the police force of ‘misogyny'

As around 100 police officers looked on, the crowd roared and clapped as organisers called for stronger action to combat sexual crimes against women and accused the police force of ‘misogyny’

Protestors have been chanting 'kill the bill,' at today's demonstration, in opposition to the The Police, Crime , Sentencing and Courts Bill, which will be discussed on Tuesday

Protestors have been chanting 'kill the bill,' at today's demonstration, in opposition to the The Police, Crime , Sentencing and Courts Bill, which will be discussed on Tuesday

Protestors have been chanting ‘kill the bill,’ at today’s demonstration, in opposition to the The Police, Crime , Sentencing and Courts Bill, which will be discussed on Tuesday

Labour MP Zarah Sultana was in attendance at today's protest and was among the campaigners to speak in Parliament Square

Labour MP Zarah Sultana was in attendance at today's protest and was among the campaigners to speak in Parliament Square

Labour MP Zarah Sultana was in attendance at today’s protest and was among the campaigners to speak in Parliament Square

Earlier today Priti Patel spoke movingly of the violence and fear faced by women in Britain today in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder – but urged people not to take part on mass protests during the Covid crisis. 

Meanwhile, Anna Birley, from campaign group Reclaim These Streets, said forcing the exit of the first female leader of Britain’s biggest police force would do nothing to advance female equality. 

‘We are a movement of women seeking to support and empower other women, and as one of the most senior women in British policing history, we do not want to add to the pile-on,’ she said.

Britons have been left divided over public gatherings and Scotland Yard’s handling of the Sarah Everard vigil, according to a snap poll today.   

Organisers Reclaim These Streets had cancelled the event after Scotland Yard rejected their proposals for making it Covid secure, and a High Court judge refused to intervene in a legal battle launched by the organisers. 

A YouGov poll in the wake of the shocking scenes has found that the public is split over whether the vigil should have been allowed to go ahead. 

Some 40 per cent of Britons argue the event should have been permitted, while 43 per cent said it should not have continued. 

And there was a clear gender divide, with 42 per cent of women backing the vigil, compared to just 38 per cent of men.

For the second night in a row, police officers stood guard outside New Scotland Yard tonight, amid protests in London

For the second night in a row, police officers stood guard outside New Scotland Yard tonight, amid protests in London

For the second night in a row, police officers stood guard outside New Scotland Yard tonight, amid protests in London

Speakers at today's protest in Parliament Square slammed Metropolitan Police for its handling of Saturday's vigil, accusing the force of 'misogyny'

Speakers at today's protest in Parliament Square slammed Metropolitan Police for its handling of Saturday's vigil, accusing the force of 'misogyny'

Speakers at today’s protest in Parliament Square slammed Metropolitan Police for its handling of Saturday’s vigil, accusing the force of ‘misogyny’

One of the organisers of the vigil, speaking through a megaphone accused the Metropolitan Police of unleashing ‘state violence on women’ at a vigil for Sarah Everard on Saturday night. Pictured: Protestors are in London again today

One of the organisers of the vigil, speaking through a megaphone accused the Metropolitan Police of unleashing ‘state violence on women’ at a vigil for Sarah Everard on Saturday night. Pictured: Protestors are in London again today

One of the organisers of the vigil, speaking through a megaphone accused the Metropolitan Police of unleashing ‘state violence on women’ at a vigil for Sarah Everard on Saturday night. Pictured: Protestors are in London again today

Police officers at monitoring the protest in Parliament Square today, after demonstrations last night saw officers guard the entrance to New Scotland Yard and protect a statue of Winston Churchill

Police officers at monitoring the protest in Parliament Square today, after demonstrations last night saw officers guard the entrance to New Scotland Yard and protect a statue of Winston Churchill

Police officers at monitoring the protest in Parliament Square today, after demonstrations last night saw officers guard the entrance to New Scotland Yard and protect a statue of Winston Churchill

One of the organisers of the vigil, speaking through a megaphone accused the Metropolitan Police of unleashing ‘state violence on women’ on Saturday night

One of the organisers of the vigil, speaking through a megaphone accused the Metropolitan Police of unleashing ‘state violence on women’ on Saturday night

One of the organisers of the vigil, speaking through a megaphone accused the Metropolitan Police of unleashing ‘state violence on women’ on Saturday night 

Earlier today Priti Patel spoke movingly of the violence and fear faced by women in Britain today in the wake of Sarah Everard's murder - but urged people not to take part on mass protests during the Covid crisis

Earlier today Priti Patel spoke movingly of the violence and fear faced by women in Britain today in the wake of Sarah Everard's murder - but urged people not to take part on mass protests during the Covid crisis

Earlier today Priti Patel spoke movingly of the violence and fear faced by women in Britain today in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder – but urged people not to take part on mass protests during the Covid crisis

The mood of the protest has shifted to show opposition against the The Police, Crime , Sentencing and Courts Bill which could allow officers to intervene in events that are deemed to have caused 'serious unease, alarm or distress'

The mood of the protest has shifted to show opposition against the The Police, Crime , Sentencing and Courts Bill which could allow officers to intervene in events that are deemed to have caused 'serious unease, alarm or distress'

The mood of the protest has shifted to show opposition against the The Police, Crime , Sentencing and Courts Bill which could allow officers to intervene in events that are deemed to have caused ‘serious unease, alarm or distress’

Campaign group Reclaim These Street said Cressida Dick should not be forced to quit her role as Met Police commissioner. Pictured: Women have laid flowers at today's demonstration in Parliament Square, in memory of Sarah Everard, while others have raised placards

Campaign group Reclaim These Street said Cressida Dick should not be forced to quit her role as Met Police commissioner. Pictured: Women have laid flowers at today's demonstration in Parliament Square, in memory of Sarah Everard, while others have raised placards

Campaign group Reclaim These Street said Cressida Dick should not be forced to quit her role as Met Police commissioner. Pictured: Women have laid flowers at today’s demonstration in Parliament Square, in memory of Sarah Everard, while others have raised placards 

Britons have been left divided over public gatherings and Scotland Yard's handling of the Sarah Everard vigil, according to a snap poll today. Protestors have gathered in Parliament Square for a third day of demonstrations today

Britons have been left divided over public gatherings and Scotland Yard's handling of the Sarah Everard vigil, according to a snap poll today. Protestors have gathered in Parliament Square for a third day of demonstrations today

Britons have been left divided over public gatherings and Scotland Yard’s handling of the Sarah Everard vigil, according to a snap poll today. Protestors have gathered in Parliament Square for a third day of demonstrations today

Today's protests come following the death of Sarah Everard, 33, who vanished while walking home in Clapham on March 3. Some 40 per cent of Britons have said a vigil for Sarah on Saturday should have been permitted, while 43 per cent said it should not

Today's protests come following the death of Sarah Everard, 33, who vanished while walking home in Clapham on March 3. Some 40 per cent of Britons have said a vigil for Sarah on Saturday should have been permitted, while 43 per cent said it should not

Today’s protests come following the death of Sarah Everard, 33, who vanished while walking home in Clapham on March 3. Some 40 per cent of Britons have said a vigil for Sarah on Saturday should have been permitted, while 43 per cent said it should not

 

Mourners wearing facemasks went to the common throughout the day, including the Duchess of Cambridge who paid a private visit to the makeshift shrine.

But a vigil on Saturday night in Ms Everard’s memory descended into violence, culminating in police officers pinning protestors to the ground in images that appalled the nation. 

Speaking on Sunday, Boris Johnson said of the police’s response: ‘Like everyone who saw it I was deeply concerned about the footage from Clapham Common on Saturday night.

‘I have spoken with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner who has committed to reviewing how this was handled and the Home Secretary has also commissioned HM Inspectorate of Constabulary to conduct a lessons learned review into the policing of the event.

The Home Secretary faced the Commons today amid fury over the Metropolitan Police’s handling of the vigil.

Ms Patel told MPs that the scenes of officers manhandling women from the scene on Clapham Common in South London had been ‘upsetting’, and the murder had ‘rightly ignited anger’ about male violence.

But she also defended the police’s efforts during the pandemic and highlighted the death toll from coronavirus as she urged the public to stay off the streets in large groups. 

Her comments came after Boris Johnson said he has full confidence in Met chief Cressida Dick as she faces a huge backlash for defending the police operation on Saturday night.

Called to Westminster to answer an Urgent Question about the Ms Patel told MPs: ‘Over the past year during the coronavirus pandemic, the police have been faced with an unenviable and immediately difficult task. It is one for the most part that they have approached with skill and professionalism, helping to enforce regulations as determined by Parliament with one crucial objective in mind, to save lives.

‘This House approved those changes by 524 votes to 16 on January 6 this year. Sadly, as of Sunday March 14, more than 125,500 lives have been lost to this horrible virus.

Ms Patel told MPs that the scenes of officers manhandling women from the scene on Clapham Common in South London had been 'upsetting', and the murder had 'rightly ignited anger' about male violence. But she also defended the police's efforts

Ms Patel told MPs that the scenes of officers manhandling women from the scene on Clapham Common in South London had been 'upsetting', and the murder had 'rightly ignited anger' about male violence. But she also defended the police's efforts

Ms Patel told MPs that the scenes of officers manhandling women from the scene on Clapham Common in South London had been ‘upsetting’, and the murder had ‘rightly ignited anger’ about male violence. But she also defended the police’s efforts

Around 200 protestors have gathered in Parliament Square this evening, with police remaining a discreet distance away at this stage

Around 200 protestors have gathered in Parliament Square this evening, with police remaining a discreet distance away at this stage

Around 200 protestors have gathered in Parliament Square this evening, with police remaining a discreet distance away at this stage

The Home Office has ordered a full report into Met Police's handling of Saturday's vigil, but Boris Johnson has said he has full confidence in commissioner Cressida Dick

The Home Office has ordered a full report into Met Police's handling of Saturday's vigil, but Boris Johnson has said he has full confidence in commissioner Cressida Dick

The Home Office has ordered a full report into Met Police’s handling of Saturday’s vigil, but Boris Johnson has said he has full confidence in commissioner Cressida Dick

'Accounts shared online in the wake of Sarah's disappearance are so powerful because every single one of us can relate to them,' Priti Patel said earlier today, however, protestors have been critical of the Home Secretary, and the Government as a whole

'Accounts shared online in the wake of Sarah's disappearance are so powerful because every single one of us can relate to them,' Priti Patel said earlier today, however, protestors have been critical of the Home Secretary, and the Government as a whole

‘Accounts shared online in the wake of Sarah’s disappearance are so powerful because every single one of us can relate to them,’ Priti Patel said earlier today, however, protestors have been critical of the Home Secretary, and the Government as a whole

‘It is for that reason that I continue to urge everyone for as long as these regulations are in place not to participate in large gatherings or attend protests.

‘The right to protest is the cornerstone of our democracy, but the Government’s duty remains to prevent more lives being lost during this pandemic.’

Striking a more personal tone, she also said women and girls must feel safe whilst walking on the street.  

 ‘Accounts shared online in the wake of Sarah’s disappearance are so powerful because every single one of us can relate to them,’ she said.

‘Too many of us have walked home from school or work alone only to hear footsteps uncomfortably close behind us. Too many of us have pretended to be on the phone to a friend to scare someone off.

‘Too many of us have clutched our keys in our fist in case we need to defend ourselves and that is not OK.

‘Women and girls must feel safe whilst walking our streets, that is why we have continued to take action.’

Serving Met Police officer Wayne Couzens, 48, has been charged with the murder and kidnap of Sarah Everard.

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