Priti Patel Labelled ‘Hypocrite’ For Asking For Report Into Met Police’s Handling Of Sarah Everard Vigil
Home secretary Priti Patel is being called out for hypocrisy after demanding a full report regarding the way the Metropolitan Police handled protestors at a vigil for Sarah Everard while trying to push anti-protest legislation through next week in parliament.
Hundreds of people gathered at the bandstand in Clapham Common on Saturday evening, March 13, to honour Everard, who was found dead after going missing from the streets of London on March 3. A serving Metropolitan police officer has been charged with kidnap and murder.
While many images from the event show moving scenes of activists gathered together, shining lights and holding signs, others show attendees being pushed around by police and held to the ground in handcuffs.
See one video from the vigil below:
An official event named Reclaimed These Streets was cancelled as a result of coronavirus restrictions and replaced with an online and doorstep event, however the members of the public at Clapham Common last night defied the warnings not to gather.
Police attempted to disperse the crowd but attendees hit back, with many taking out their anger at Everard’s death on the officers. People could be heard shouting ‘shame on you’ and ‘you are scum’ towards the police, while one woman screamed: ‘You’re supposed to protect us.’
Some officers used force in an attempt to control the crowds, but Patel expressed her disapproval for their response on Twitter, writing: ‘Some of the footage circulating online from the vigil in Clapham is upsetting.’
Patel added that she has ‘asked the Metropolitan Police for a full report on what happened.’
The tactics used by the police were similarly criticised by MPs, campaigners and London mayor Sadiq Khan.
The mayor tweeted:
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.
Police insisted that the gathering was ‘unsafe’, stating that hundreds of people who were ‘tightly packed together’ were ‘in breach of the regulations and risking public health.’
They added: ‘We are urging people to go home and we thank those who have been engaging with officers and who are leaving.’
People online have been highlighting Patel’s authoritarian tendencies as home secretary in regards to police behaviour as well as her own actions in office.
Last year the prime minister’s adviser on the ministerial code quit after Boris Johnson sided with Patel over an inquiry into bullying.
This week, new anti-protest legislation comes to parliament ordered by Patel herself.
Reclaim These Streets released a statement in response to the events at the vigil, stating that it was ‘deeply saddened and angered by the scenes of police officers physically manhandling women at a vigil against male violence.’
It continued, in part:
The Metropolitan Police failed to work with us despite the High Court ruling yesterday that a vigil could potentially go ahead lawfully. In doing so they created a risky and unsafe situation. It is their responsibility to protect public order, public health and the right to protest – they failed tonight on all accounts.
In a statement released in the early hours of Sunday morning, Met Police assistant commissioner Helen Ball stressed that ‘the pandemic is not over’ and that officers had to make a ‘difficult decision’ after people began to gather at the bandstand.
Ball said four attendees were arrested on suspicion of public order offences and of breaching coronavirus rules, and that officers’ actions at the event would be reviewed.
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CreditsPriti Patel/Twitter and 2 others
Reclaim These Streets/Twitter