UK police forces have been widely criticised for their handling of vigils in the memory of murdered Londoner Sarah Everard after footage of heavy-handed arrests went viral on Saturday night.
Thousands of people attended vigils across the UK to lay flowers and light candles for the 33-year-old marketing executive who went missing while walking home on March 3. A serving police office has been charged with her kidnap and murder following his arrest on March 10.
Events across the country to protest male violence against women and girls were organised for Saturday under the banner Reclaim These Streets, with organisers engaging with local police to ensure they complied with coronavirus restrictions. Many were cancelled, at least officially, after a High Court judge refused to intervene and authorities threatened large fines for anyone attending.
Many mourners still turned out, however, and the Duchess of Cambridge was filmed laying flowers at Clapham Common, near where Sarah disappeared, as similar scenes played out across the country in Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Brighton, Bristol, Nottingham, Glasgow, and other urban centres.
But as night fell, officers in Clapham and Brighton moved to block and contain elements of the vigil, pushing and restraining attendees, making arrests and issuing fines.
In Clapham, police were accused of kettling attendees near the bandstand, where hundreds of wreaths and messages had been laid, pushing crowds into ever smaller spaces leading to rising tensions and panic among the crowd.