Police Response To Football Parades During Pandemic Starkly Different To Sarah Everard Vigil
Social media users have criticised police after comparing how they treated crowds at a football parade with those gathering to honour Sarah Everard.
Police were seen pushing and shouting at members of the public who gathered in Clapham Common in London last night, March 13, in tribute to Everard after it was confirmed that she had been found dead.
Last weekend, football fans descended on Ibrox Stadium and George Square in Glasgow city centre to celebrate Rangers’ Scottish title win, with gatherings taking place on both Saturday and Sunday despite ongoing coronavirus restrictions.
Images shared on social media indicate that police behaved very differently at last night’s vigil than they did at the gatherings in Scotland, where officers largely appeared to simply stand by and observe.
One image shows police surrounding a crowd of football fans to escort them as they marched down the streets of Glasgow, while another, taken at Clapham Common, shows a woman being held to the ground in handcuffs.
Alongside the images, a Twitter user wrote:
on the left: police escort football fans through glasgow city centre, march 7th 2021
on the right: police disrupt a peaceful vigil commemorating a victim of police violence against women, march 13th 2021
The differences were also highlighted by actor and activist Jameela Jamil, who shared other contrasting images and wrote: ‘Men celebrating a football win vs women peacefully holding a vigil for a woman who has been murdered, where a police officer is the prime suspect.’
In response to a post alleging that police at the vigil were ‘assaulting women’, a third Twitter user wrote: ‘Contrast with the scenes when rangers won the title six days ago. So it’s ok to celebrate a football match if you’re a man “natural exuberance” but we’ll arrest you if you’re holding a silent vigil for a murdered woman!’
Police in Scotland were active during the celebrations last weekend, arresting 28 people for cases including assault of officers.
Malcolm Graham, Police Scotland’s deputy chief constable, described the behaviour following the football game as ‘disgraceful’ and said he ‘utterly condemn[ed] the individuals who chose to completely disregard the coronavirus regulations, putting both the wider community and our officers at risk.’
Though arrests were made, images from each of the events indicate officers were more quick to respond with force to those at last night’s vigil. Police have been criticised by home secretary Priti Patel for their actions last night, as well as by activists and London mayor Sadiq Khan.
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