Demonstrators gathered in Parliament Square for a rally with speeches and chanting. This follows the murder of Sarah Everard allegedly by a Met police officer and the police violence at a vigil on Clapham Common last Saturday.
Young women who attended the protest told Socialist Worker they were “angry with the government". "And we want to let out our anger," one said. “We all know what it’s like to get cat called—I was even on my way here.”
Another added, “So many times I’ve not realised what was happening to me was wrong until I told a friend.
“And the police’s handling of any movement, whether it’s against racism, sexism or the climate emergency, needs challenging and can’t be defended.
“They exert power on us to keep us silent—it’s institutional. They work in an institution that gives them a power trip.”
The women said they want to be able to “walk safe”. “It’s really bad we’ve ended up here,” they added. “Why do I have to get a taxi when I live a 15-minute walk away because it’s not safe? It’s so normalised.
“Men don’t have to text their friends when they’ve got home safe.”
Speakers told the crowd that the new bill “has been made for the rich and powerful”. This was followed by cries of “police protect themselves” and “all cops are bastards”.
Another speaker said, “The police and the government care more about statues than women”—which was met with cries of “shame”.
Placards read, “End police brutality,” “Killed by the system we were told protects us,” and, “Blame the system, not the victim.”
The protest moved across Westminster Bridge with marchers shouting, “Kill the bill,” and, “Fuck the police.” It then moved back over the bridge to police headquarters New Scotland Yard with furious shouts of “shame on you” at the police stood outside.
Lydia told Socialist Worker she’s “exhausted and frustrated”. “We need to take down systems that uphold sexism,” she said.
“And the Tories’ bill is terrifying. We have to fight for change even if it means coming out every night.”
Angry protesters then continued their march back to Parliament with chants of “how do you sleep" at cops and “Black Lives Matter”. Protesters continued their march down Whitehall, with a stop outside Downing Street to call Boris Johnson “scum”.
Leah and Jenny said the police violence on Clapham Common was “unacceptable”. “The police tell us not to go home alone or go out at night but that’s giving into the problem. It normalises the fear women live with,” they told Socialist Worker.
Defiant marchers reached Piccadilly Circus, but police separated groups off telling people to "go home" and "to have a safe night". Police also attempted to arbitrarily fine some who had separated away from the main group.
But while cops roam the streets and the system that causes women’s oppression is upheld, women won't be safe.