Protesters set off rape alarms and demand ‘radical change’ at Met Police
Hundreds of people have marched through central London to demand “radical change” from a “rotten to the core” Metropolitan Police force.
Led by campaign group Sisters Uncut, demonstrators blocked traffic as they marched from Scotland Yard to Charing Cross Police Station in central London.
They carried banners reading “police are perpetrators”, set off bright blue smoke flares, and made speeches before the campaign group said it activated 1,000 rape alarms at Charing Cross police station.
The protest also marks just over a year since the high-profile murder of Sarah Everard by serving Met officer Wayne Couzens.
Patsy Stevenson, who was arrested at an impromptu vigil for Ms Everard in the days following her murder, spoke to the crowd as dozens of officers watched on.
Ms Stevenson told the PA news agency she is calling for “radical change from the whole of the policing system”.
When asked how the Met can restore public trust, she told PA: “First thing is accountability, holding your hands up and admitting you’ve done something wrong.
“Secondly they need to understand there needs to be radical change from the whole of the policing system.
“At the moment we don’t even need police, and that’s not how it should be.”
When asked whether she thought new leadership following the resignation of the Met’s Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick would amount to change, she said: “Just because she’s out doesn’t mean anything is going to change.”
Speaking to the crowd, Ms Stevenson said Home Secretary Priti Patel should resign next.
She said: “Cressida Dick – thank god she resigned.
“Priti Patel is next by the way, let’s not forget who’s in charge.
“That vigil was a vigil for Sarah Everard, and so many women are murdered at the hands of men.
“How dare they tell us to stay indoors.”
Marvina Newton, of Sisters Uncut, described the police as “a corrupt system that’s rotten to the core”.
“The bigger system is broken,” she told PA.
“We want to kill the Police, Crime and Sentencing Bill, we want to make sure that our children’s children should be able to have the democratic right to fight an oppressive power.”
If passed, the Bill would give police greater powers to control protests by imposing start and finishing times, setting limits on noise, and fining protesters who break rules up to £2,500.
The bill is opposed by Labour and the Liberal Democrats in its current form.
Saturday’s protest also comes after High Court judges found on Friday that the Metropolitan Police breached the rights of organisers the vigil for Ms Everard by “failing to perform its legal duty” to consider whether they had a “reasonable excuse” for holding the gathering amid Covid-19 restrictions.
Reclaim These Streets held the vigil for Ms Everard near to where she went missing in Clapham, south London, in March last year.
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