‘Shame on you’: Cops arrest women at vigil
Cops stormed tearful mourners in the UK after thousands flocked to the Sarah Everard vigil on Clapham Common.
Scenes turned ugly in South London as police dragged people away from a candle-lit shrine around a bandstand, where crowds had gathered to pay their respects.
Mourners shouted "shame on you" at officers as they ripped women off the metal railings of the bandstand, with reports floral tributes were trampled on.
While shocking pictures showed mourners pinned to the floor as they were arrested and others cuffed as they were led away.
The Met Police have since confirmed that four people were arrested during the clashes.
The vigil, attended by crowds of thousands, started peacefully with women lifting their lighters in unison and holding placards as they stood in solidarity with the 33-year-old.
Protesters chanted "you go home" at cops as one woman addressed the crowd through a megaphone.
But the standoff quickly escalated as officers moved in to arrest a protester on the bandstand.
Loud cheers were heard as cops sprinted away from the crowds with dozens of officers making their way towards waiting vans.
However, cops later formed a circle as dozens of protesters swarmed around them.
A squad of officers led one detained man away from the area but were surrounded by disgruntled mourners.
Officers linked arms as they made their way from the park with the arrested man and were pursued by protesters.
Crowds cheered as officers arrived at a line of police vans with cries of "f**k the police" ringing out.
Chants of "the sisters united will never be defeated" then rang out in Clapham Common.
One woman told the crowd: "The streets are ours," while a banner written in Spanish was unfurled reading "your indifference and silence kills as well."
But in a lengthy statement Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball claimed officers were faced with a "very difficult decision" as crowds became "packed tightly together, posing a very real risk of easily transmitting Covid-19."
She said: "Those who gathered were spoken to by officers on a number of occasions and over an extended period of time.
"We repeatedly encouraged those who were there to comply with the law and leave. Regrettably, a small minority of people began chanting at officers, pushing and throwing items.
"After speaking with officers, the vast majority of people quickly left. Four arrests have been made for public order offences and for breaches of the Health Protection Regulations."
AC Ball added: "We 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.
"Let me end by saying that across the Met, we review every single event that we police to see if there are lessons that can be learnt. This one will be no different."
Home Secretary Priti Patel called for a "full report" from the Met Police into the ordeal.
She wrote on Twitter: "Some of the footage circulating online from the vigil in Clapham is upsetting.
"I have asked the Metropolitan Police for a full report on what happened.
"My thoughts remain with Sarah's family and friends at this terrible time."
And London's mayor Sadiq Khan also called the scenes at Clapham Common tonight "unacceptable."
Mr Khan said: "The scenes from Clapham Common are unacceptable.
"The police have a responsibility to enforce Covid laws but from images I've seen it's clear the response was at times neither appropriate nor proportionate.
"I'm contact with the Commissioner & urgently seeking an explanation."
This article originally appeared in The Sun and was republished with permission
Originally published as 'Shame on you': Cops arrest women at vigil