'Rally the troops' to march on Parliament, says Sarah Everard activist pinned to floor by police

Bill Gardner
·4 min read
Police detain Patsy Stevenson at the memorial site for Sarah Everard in Clapham Common - Reuters
Police detain Patsy Stevenson at the memorial site for Sarah Everard in Clapham Common - Reuters

A woman who was pinned down and arrested by police at the Sarah Everard protest has called on activists to “rally the troops” for a larger demonstration outside Parliament on Monday.

Patsy Stevenson was pictured being held down on the Clapham Common bandstand before officers hauled her and other women into a police van.

Speaking after the Reclaim These Streets protest on Saturday night, Ms Stevenson said the actions of the Metropolitan Police had been “disgraceful” and questioned their heavy-handed tactics.

The physics student at Royal Holloway, University of London and part-time actress called for another “bigger” protest in London’s Parliament Square at 5pm on Monday.

She told the left-wing blog Counterfire: “The fact that the police turned up was just disgraceful, because before then it was a peaceful process.

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“I was arrested by police for standing there. I wasn’t doing anything, they threw me to the floor. I'm 5ft2 and I weigh nothing, and several police were on my back trying to arrest me.

“They arrested me in cuffs, dragged me away, surrounded by like 10 police officers and when we got in the van they said we just need your name and your address and we'll let you go with a fine.

“So I don't see the point of the arrest to be honest.”

When asked what demonstrators should do next, she said “bigger protest”, adding: “We need to rally the troops.”

In a later video posted on her own Twitter account, Ms Stevenson said:

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She also retweeted a Twitter post suggesting a photo of her arrest had “burn the witch vibes”.

A poster for tomorrow’s planned protest has been shared hundreds of times and promoted by leading activists from Stop the War Coalition and Black Lives Matter.

Meanwhile one of the organisers of the vigil in Clapham has accused the Metropolitan Police of "systemic ignoring and oppressing of women".

Police officers attend a vigil on Clapham Common, -  Getty Images
Police officers attend a vigil on Clapham Common, - Getty Images

"I think we were shocked and really, really sad and to see videos of policemen handling women at a vigil about violence against women by men. I think it was it was painful and pretty triggering to see," Jamie Klingler told the PA news agency the morning after officers were seen tussling with some of those in attendance.

"The fact that nobody stepped in and said: 'do you see how this looks?'. The fact that Thursday and Friday they wasted our organising time by dragging us to the High Court for our human rights to protest and we were going to have a silent vigil."

She added: "I was bringing my tiny dog, and we were absolutely doing it to have a silent, respectful protest for Sarah Everard, and for all the women affected by violence at the hands of men.

"Especially today, it's Mother's Day. It's the week of International Women's Day. And instead of allowing and facilitating it like the Lambeth police wanted to - and that police force was so supportive - Scotland Yard quashed us and in doing so silenced us and got the reaction they got last night."

The Met Police have since confirmed that four people were arrested during the clashes.

Police were "placed in a position where enforcement was necessary", Scotland Yard said amid pressure to explain its handling of the event.

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 - AFP
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 - AFP

In the early hours of Sunday, Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball said police were put into a position "where enforcement action was necessary".

She said: "Hundreds of people were packed tightly together, posing a very real risk of easily transmitting Covid-19.

"Police must act for people's safety, this is the only responsible thing to do. The pandemic is not over and gatherings of people from right across London and beyond, are still not safe.

"Those who gathered were spoken to by officers on a number of occasions and over an extended period of time. We repeatedly encouraged those who were there to comply with the law and leave. Regrettably, a small minority of people began chanting at officers, pushing and throwing items."