London: Watchdog Finds Brutal Protest Crackdown ‘Justified’ after Police Murder

By Nélida Tello

On March 30, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services concluded an investigation into the brutal police response to the vigil held for Sarah Everard, a woman who was abducted and murdered by Diplomatic Protection Command officer Wayne Couzen last month. The vigil turned into a protest which took on not only a position against anti-women violence, but also a distinctly anti-police character considering the perpetrator of the crime.

During the investigation into Everard’s murder, police instructed women in Southeast London to stay home to insure their security, sparking outrage among community members, specifically women.

The vigil was held after Everard’s body was discovered in Southeast London, a week after going missing, and officer Couzen was charged with kidnap and murder, although he is still set to continue receiving full pay until the trial. Hundreds of people were present at the vigil in Clapham Common, the last place Everard was seen alive. The violent crackdown against those present was carried out under the pretext of ‘COVID-19 lockdown’ restrictions.

The following day a protest was convened outside of London’s Parliament Square to condemn the police repression from the night before. Protesters denounced the police as a force that maintains women’s oppression, and these demonstrations continued for four more days.

The protests and demonstrations have also denounced the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill—if passed it will increase police capacity to repress and target dissidence. This is further exacerbated by the strict COVID-19 guidelines instituted by the British government, which use the restriction of large gatherings as a pretext to attack and arrest demonstrators denouncing the police and violence against women.

The truth is that the police, as the footsoldiers of the ruling class, make their living through repressing the working class and propping up the old society through upholding and maintaining its laws. As a decidedly violent, anti-people force, they are also liable to commit many crimes against women as has been thoroughly documented with numerous cases of harassment, rape, domestic violence, and murder. While liberal groups are eager to reduce the oppression of women down to interpersonal conflicts between men and women, the root of women’s oppression is in private property and can only be eradicated through the overthrow of the ruling class and class society as a whole.

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