Hundreds gather in south London to pay tribute to Sarah Everard despite vigil being cancelled

Jimmy Nsubuga
·4-min read

Watch: Hundreds attend vigil for Sarah Everard despite police warning

Hundreds of people have gathered in south London to pay tribute to Sarah Everard despite a vigil being cancelled

Mourners stood in Clapham Common near where the 33-year-old, whose body was formally identified on Friday, went missing on 3 March.

Crowds could be heard chanting “sisters united will never be defeated” at a memorial before police urged them to disperse.

Officers later clashed with protesters and were seen leading some of them away.

Serving Metropolitan Police constable Wayne Couzens, 48, is charged with kidnapping and murdering Ms Everard.

He appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Saturday morning following his arrest on Tuesday.

Watch: Police arrest woman at Sarah Everard protest

Sarah Everard, 33, was last seen in south London on 3 March. (Police)
Sarah Everard, 33, was last seen in south London on 3 March. (Police)
Police officers form a cordon as well-wishers turn on their phone torches as they gather at a band-stand where a planned vigil in honour of murder victim Sarah Everard was cancelled after police outlawed it due to Covid-19 restrictions, on Clapham Common, south London on March 13, 2021, - The police officer charged with murdering  young Londoner, Sarah Everard, who disappeared while walking home from a friend's house, appeared in court on March 13, 2021, as organisers cancelled a vigil in her honour due to coronavirus restrictions. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Police officers form a cordon on Clapham Common. (Getty)
Well-wishers at a band-stand where a planned vigil in honour of murder victim Sarah Everard was cancelled after police outlawed it due to Covid-19 restrictions, on Clapham Common, south London on March 13, 2021, - The police officer charged with murdering  young Londoner, Sarah Everard, who disappeared while walking home from a friend's house, appeared in court on March 13, 2021, as organisers cancelled a vigil in her honour due to coronavirus restrictions. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Mourners at a band-stand where a planned vigil in honour of murder victim Sarah Everard was cancelled. (Getty)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 13: Mourners for the life of murdered 33-year-old Sarah Everard, whose remains were found this week in woodland in Kent, take part in an officially cancelled 'Reclaim These Streets' vigil on Clapham Common in London, United Kingdom on March 13, 2021. Wayne Couzens, a serving Metropolitan Police officer, was yesterday charged with the kidnap and murder of Everard, who went missing over a week ago from south London and whose disappearance and death has seen women across the country speaking up about their own fears of not being safe on the streets. (Photo by David Cliff/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
People still gathered for a vigil in Clapham despite police warnings. (Getty)
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Police officers scuffle with people gathering at a band-stand where a planned vigil in honour of murder victim Sarah Everard was cancelled after police outlawed it due to Covid-19 restrictions, on Clapham Common, south London on March 13, 2021, - The police officer charged with murdering young Londoner, Sarah Everard, who disappeared while walking home from a friend's house, appeared in court on March 13, 2021, as organisers cancelled a vigil in her honour due to coronavirus restrictions. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Police officers scuffle with people gathering on Clapham Common. (Getty)
Police officers scuffle with people gathering at a band-stand where a planned vigil in honour of murder victim Sarah Everard was cancelled after police outlawed it due to Covid-19 restrictions, on Clapham Common, south London on March 13, 2021, - The police officer charged with murdering young Londoner, Sarah Everard, who disappeared while walking home from a friend's house, appeared in court on March 13, 2021, as organisers cancelled a vigil in her honour due to coronavirus restrictions. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Police officers scuffle with protesters. (Getty)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 13: Police officers attend during a vigil for Sarah Everard on Clapham Common on March 13, 2021 in London, United Kingdom. Vigils are being held across the United Kingdom in memory of Sarah Everard. Yesterday, the Police confirmed that the remains of Ms Everard were found in a woodland area in Ashford, a week after she went missing as she walked home from visiting a friend in Clapham. Metropolitan Police Officer Wayne Couzens has been charged with her kidnap and murder. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)
Police officers at the protest in south London. (Getty)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 13: Members of the public shout during a vigil for Sarah Everard on Clapham Common on March 13, 2021 in London, United Kingdom. Vigils are being held across the United Kingdom in memory of Sarah Everard. Yesterday, the Police confirmed that the remains of Ms Everard were found in a woodland area in Ashford, a week after she went missing as she walked home from visiting a friend in Clapham. Metropolitan Police Officer Wayne Couzens has been charged with her kidnap and murder. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)
Protesters shout during a vigil for Sarah Everard. (Getty)
A woman holds up a placard as people gather in Clapham Common, London, after the Reclaim These Streets vigil for Sarah Everard was officially cancelled. Serving police constable Wayne Couzens, 48, has appeared in court charged with kidnapping and killing the marketing executive, who went missing while walking home from a friend's flat in south London on March 3. Picture date: Saturday March 13, 2021.
A woman holds up a placard. (PA)

A planned gathering at 6pm had been replaced with a doorstep vigil, with organisers saying despite their attempts to work with police to ensure the vigil could proceed safely, they now felt it could not go ahead after a High Court judge refused to intervene on their behalf.

They instead asked people to stand on their doorsteps at 9.30pm, the same time Ms Everard was last seen alive, and shine a light in her memory.

A number of police forces across the country issued statements urging people not to attend the in-person events, instead encouraging people to join planned doorstep or online vigils.

Commander Catherine Roper, Metropolitan Police lead for community engagement, said the force took “no joy” in the Clapham vigil's cancellation but insisted it was the “right thing to do”.

She said: “I know that yesterday’s ruling would have been unwelcome news for the organisers and to those who were hoping to join others in tribute to Sarah and to make a stand on violence against women.”

Greater Manchester Police reminded people that congregating in large groups remained illegal due to current coronavirus restrictions but said it “absolutely supports” the doorstep vigils and “encourages our communities to join them”.

West Midlands Police said events in Coventry and Birmingham had been cancelled after discussions with the organisers.

Despite the warnings, groups still gathered across the country to pay respects to Ms Everard, including in Bristol and Nottingham.

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - MARCH 13: A female police officer lights a candle next to a makeshift memorial during a vigil for Sarah Everard, following her kidnap and murder, on Market Square on March 13, 2021 in Nottingham, England. Vigils are being held across the United Kingdom in memory of Sarah Everard. Yesterday, the Police confirmed that the remains of Ms Everard were found in a woodland area in Ashford, a week after she went missing as she walked home from visiting a friend in Clapham. Metropolitan Police Officer Wayne Couzens has been charged with her kidnap and murder. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
A female police officer lights a candle next to a makeshift memorial. (Getty)
NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - MARCH 13: People light candles during a vigil for Sarah Everard on March 13, 2021 in Nottingham, England. Vigils are being held across the United Kingdom in memory of Sarah Everard. Yesterday, the Police confirmed that the remains of Ms Everard were found in a woodland area in Ashford, a week after she went missing as she walked home from visiting a friend in Clapham. Metropolitan Police Officer Wayne Couzens has been charged with her kidnap and murder. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images
People light candles during a vigil for Sarah Everard in Nottingham. (Getty)
NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - MARCH 13: People attend during a vigil for Sarah Everard following her kidnap and murder on March 13, 2021 in Nottingham, England.  Vigils are being held across the United Kingdom in memory of Sarah Everard. Yesterday, the Police confirmed that the remains of Ms Everard were found in a woodland area in Ashford, a week after she went missing as she walked home from visiting a friend in Clapham. Metropolitan Police Officer Wayne Couzens has been charged with her kidnap and murder. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
Another image from the vigil in Nottingham. (Getty)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 13: Two women leave tributes for Sarah Everard at the bandstand on Clapham Common on March 13, 2021 in London, United Kingdom.  Vigils are being held across the United Kingdom in memory of Sarah Everard. Yesterday, the Police confirmed that the remains of Ms Everard were found in a woodland area in Ashford, a week after she went missing as she walked home from visiting a friend in Clapham. Metropolitan Police Officer Wayne Couzens has been charged with her kidnap and murder. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
People leave tributes for Sarah Everard at the bandstand on Clapham Common. (Getty)
Well-wishers gather at a band-stand where a planned vigil in honour of murder victim Sarah Everard was cancelled after police outlawed it due to Covid-19 restrictions, on Clapham Common, south London on March 13, 2021, - The police officer charged with murdering  young Londoner, Sarah Everard, who disappeared while walking home from a friend's house, appeared in court on March 13, 2021, as organisers cancelled a vigil in her honour due to coronavirus restrictions. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
People gather on Clapham Common. (Getty)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 13: Members of the public wearing face masks stand before tributes for Sarah Everard at the bandstand on Clapham Common on March 13, 2021 in London, United Kingdom. Vigils are being held across the United Kingdom in memory of Sarah Everard. Yesterday, the Police confirmed that the remains of Ms Everard were found in a woodland area in Ashford, a week after she went missing as she walked home from visiting a friend in Clapham. Metropolitan Police Officer Wayne Couzens has been charged with her kidnap and murder. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
More tributes for Sarah Everard. (Getty)

Meanwhile, the government has been urged to clarify the law on protests during the coronavirus pandemic after Ms Everard’s vigil was cancelled.

Labour’s Harriet Harman, who chairs the Joint Committee on Human Rights, led the calls after Reclaim These Streets said they felt the event could not go ahead despite attempts to work with the police to ensure it could proceed safely.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The police’s response to do a blanket ban, to say we can treat everybody equally by stopping all freedom of associations, is not the right way to go about it.”

Police constable Wayne Couzens, 48, is charged with kidnapping and murdering Ms Everard. (SWNS)
Police constable Wayne Couzens, 48, is charged with kidnapping and murdering Ms Everard. (SWNS)
Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of serving police constable Wayne Couzens (centre), appearing in the dock at Westminster Magistrates' Court, in London where he is charged with murder and kidnapping of Sarah Everard. Picture date: Saturday March 13, 2021.
Wayne Couzens (centre), appearing in the dock at Westminster Magistrates' Court, in London. (Getty)

Reclaim These Streets organiser Anna Birley said if the vigil went ahead there would have been "massive individual risk" and women were in danger of being fined for breaking laws.

She added: "All the women across the country who are seeking to organise their own events too are at risk of criminal prosecutions from the Serious Crimes Act, which is what we've been threatened with.

"The inability of Scotland Yard to constructively engage with us means we can't be confident they're going to police the event in a way that's Covid safe."

The Duchess of Cambridge also visited the memorial for Ms Everard earlier on Saturday.