Cancelled vigil for Sarah Everard went ahead on College Green
The police were present but did not intervene
Tonight a vigil for Sarah Everard was held on College Green in Bristol, in line with many other vigils happening across the country.
The event had originally been postponed after police told organisers that they could be liable for a £10,000 fine, but it was still well attended by those who felt comfortable being there in person.
The crowd gathered from 6pm onwards, wearing masks, and bringing forward flowers and candles, placing them under a tree.
On March 3rd Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive, went missing in Clapham whilst walking home from a friends house at 9:00pm. A Metropolitan police officer was arrested and has appeared in court charged with her murder and kidnap, after Sarah’s body was identified in Kent by police.
Friends of all genders stood around the tree in solidarity. Some held each other, hugged, cried and held each others hands. As swathes of people came forward to pay tribute, the crowd stood in silence.
Amongst the glow of the candles were placards with messages on them. One read “I am sorry society failed you, Sarah”, and another read “we stand for all wxmen”.
One member of the crowd paying their respects read out a poem which they said reflected “how everyone is feeling at the moment”. It illustrated the fear felt by many women around speaking up about cases of sexual harassment, with one of the lines reading: “I told my mum the weirdos are about, she asked me what happened and I tell the truth / She raises her voice and curses my ignorant youth / So from then on, I always covered up / I kept my head down when a man said, ‘Sup?”
Another member of the audience bravely came forward with a friend, and read out a list of names of women who had died in 2021 at the hands of male violence.
An emotional evening in Bristol this evening. I just kept thinking (probably) no one there knew Sarah, but we all know a woman who has experienced harassment or assault. Tonight was for Sarah, but it shone a light on so much more. #bristol #ReclaimTheseStreets pic.twitter.com/1ZZX9QUcxY
— Nicola (@nichowardd) March 13, 2021
Avon and Somerset Police officers and vans were present, but the vigil remained peaceful and they did not intervene. That stands in contrast to London, where police used forced to disperse peaceful protesters this evening.