LONDON — Thousands of people gathered in south London on Saturday for a vigil in tribute to Sarah Everard, the 33-year-old marketing executive whose killing has touched off a national reckoning over violence against women, despite police warnings that the event would be unlawful.
As darkness fell, a growing crowd chanted “Shame on you!” and “How many more!” In what became a rally against gender violence, some clapped their hands and others held tea lights or signs that read “End Violence Against Women” and “She Was Only Walking Home.”
The event, in Clapham Common, near where Ms. Everard was last seen on March 3 on her way back from a friend’s house, had drawn small groups at first, with people gathering in silence around a memorial where flowers had been laid. Earlier, Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, was among those who placed flowers at the memorial.
Several women were arrested at the event and handcuffed by the police, according to videos shared on social media. Other protesters, some unmasked, engaged in tense faceoffs with the police.
plan to tackle violence against women and girls later this year. Home Secretary Priti Patel said on Friday that a call for testimony about harassment, which had received 15,000 contributions, would be extended for two weeks.
Lawmakers are also set to debate a bill on domestic abuse next week, with growing momentum across party lines to include an amendment treating misogyny as a hate crime.
Several lawmakers had supported the vigil’s going forward, despite the restrictions.
“Even in a pandemic a small, responsible, risk-assessed vigil could surely be accommodated?” Joanna Cherry, a lawmaker for the Scottish National Party, said on Twitter. “Women’s fear of the hate & violence against us needs expression.”