Woman ‘pinned’ at Sarah Everard vigil slams ‘disgraceful’ police behaviour

A woman who has was arrested at a remembrance gathering for Sarah Everard has called for a protest following the actions of the Metropolitan Police.

Patsy Stevenson was one of four people held by police when officers clashed with women during the vigil on the bandstand at Clapham Common, south London, on Saturday evening.

A planned vigil in honour of Sarah was cancelled following police pressure on the organisers but hundreds of woman still gathered in remembrance.

Patsy went viral on social media after images were shared of her being held down while being arrested by police.

The outcry following the images of Patsy and others has put further pressure on Commissioner Cressida Dick to resign.

Photos shared across social media show hundreds gathering despite police warning. They were grabbed and dragged away as they looked to mourn Sarah peacefully.

Like many of the women attending, Patsy was gathering to support every woman who cannot walk down the street by themselves as the Reclaim These Streets movement continues to grow.

Patsy told Counterfire: "The fact that the police turned up was just disgraceful because before then it was a peaceful protest.

"I was arrested by police for 'standing there'.

"I'm 5ft 2 and I weigh nothing and several police were on my back trying to arrest me. They arrested me, put me in handcuffs and dragged me away and I was surrounded by 10 police officers.

Patsy said she was taken into the police van before being free to go if she gave the officers her details as she could be fined for breaking coronavirus rules.

She is now calling for people to meet outside Parliament Square on Sunday at 5pm.

These arrests came after people refused the police’s request to leave as tried to disperse the crowd.

The event happened just hours after a Metropolitan Police officer was charged with kidnapping and murdering Ms Everard appeared in court for the first time.

Metropolitan Police said the gathering was illegal due to England's coronavirus lockdown rules, but they are now facing heavy criticism from Mayor Sadiq Khan and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, as well as other politicians following the clashes.

Lib Dems leader Sir Ed Davey has led calls for Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick's resignation, while Mr Khan said he was “urgently seeking an explanation”.

Scotland Yard has defended the actions of officers stating they were "placed in a position where enforcement was necessary".

Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball said: "Hundreds of people were packed tightly together, posing a very real risk of easily transmitting Covid-19.

"Police must act for people's safety, this is the only responsible thing to do. The pandemic is not over and gatherings of people from right across London and beyond, are still not safe.

"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."

Reclaim These Streets, organisers of the original vigil, said it had been threatened with £10,000 fines and criminal prosecution if they event went ahead, resulting in it being called off after an unsuccessful High Court challenge on Friday.

Despite the threat of fines, many vigils across the UK in cities such as Birmingham, Glasgow, Bristol and a number of others went ahead without incident.

Were you at the vigil and witnessed first hand what happened? Email [email protected]

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