Protests continued in the UK on Monday over gender-based violence and law enforcement following the alleged murder of Sarah Everard.
Arrests took place as hundreds of people in London demonstrated outside police headquarters, parliament and Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office, according to reports.
Many rallied to oppose the passage of a new policing bill just days after officers were criticized for using excessive force during a vigil for Everard, where Critics say the footage showed police aggressively “manhandling” and handcuffing mourners.
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Opponents said the bill would impose stiff penalties on rule breakers and give police too much power to restrict non-violent protests, according to the Guardian.
“We are here for two reasons. One is to fight against male violence, whether by the state, partners or institutions. We are here to honor the lives of women who have been murdered by men… And we are here to resist, ”said Labor MP Nadia Whittome.
Protesters held signs on Monday that read: “Educate Your Sons” and “End Violence Against Women.” They blocked Westminster Bridge twice and stood in front of a police line outside New Scotland Yard, according to the news site. Songs heard at the protest included: “the united sisters will never be defeated”, “all cops are bastards” and “who protects us from you?”
Police have ordered protesters to return home and the Guardian said it has seen several people arrested for breaking coronavirus rules. Monday’s protest lasted for several hours and did not include the same police tactics used during the vigil on Saturday, according to reports.
Political attention has shifted to the London Metropolitan Police in recent days after the vigil, which police say broke COVID-19 lockdown rules, according to Reuters.
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Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police Chief, told Sky News that she will not be leaving her post and that the circumstances surrounding Everard’s death inspired her to continue.
Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive, undertook the 50-minute walk to a friend’s house in south London around 9 p.m. on March 3. She never arrived. Police confirmed on Friday that a body found hidden in a forest 50 miles southeast of the city belonged to him.
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London police on Tuesday arrested a member of the force’s parliamentary and diplomatic protection command as a suspect in the case. Police charged Constable Wayne Couzens with kidnapping and murder on Friday. Couzens, 48, is due in court on Tuesday.
The murder has attracted international attention and raised awareness of violence against women and the dangers they sometimes face in daily activities like walking down a street at night.
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