Benedict Huszar / Staff Reporter

On March 13th, a large group of mourners gathered at a park in South London to remember Sarah Everard, who was kidnapped and murdered on March 3rd by a serving police officer. 

On Monday, some people returned to the park to leave flowers, cards and candles, including the Duchess of Cambridge, who came to pay her respects. 

An independent investigation has been called to look into the murder as well as the police response to the vigil.

The vigil was broken up around 8:00 pm by London Police due to worries about Covid-19 exposures. However, clashes quickly broke out between police and mourners and people were shoved to the ground and handcuffed after refusing to disperse. 

Photos of female demonstrators being pinned to the ground by male police officers highlighted the violence many women still face. 

Sarah’s death is a stark reminder of the dangers that women face alone at night far too often. “Essentially women have a curfew now. As soon as it gets dark out, you either have to be with someone or you have to be home.” said one of the mourners. 

Following the news of Sarah’s murder, many women have shared their stories of feeling scared and unsafe at night as well as being followed and cat-called. “We’re fed up of having to be worried all the time” stated an attendee at the vigil. 

In a call to step down, Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick said she shares the anger with protesters. “What happened to Sarah appalls me. As you know, I’m the first woman commissioner of the Met; (sic) perhaps it appalls me in a way, even more because of that. What happened makes me more determined, not less to lead my organization.” said Cressida Dick in response to the vigil, late March 13th. 

Members of the Metropolitan police force have spoken out in defence of their actions saying: “Now colleagues are being condemned by politicians of all parties for doing what we have been asked to do by politicians on behalf of society. This is not right or fair. Damned if we do. Damned if we don’t. Are we supposed to enforce Covid-19 regulations or not?” 

“We were placed in this situation because of the overriding need to protect people’s safety” stated Cressida, in defense of police actions at the vigil.