Victims of male violence remembered as action demanded to protect women

Dozens of Million Women Rise supporters gathered outside Scotland Yard in central London on Thursday afternoon.

Million Women Rise vigil
Million Women Rise vigil

A vigil has been held to remember the victims of male violence towards women.

Dozens of Million Women Rise supporters gathered outside Scotland Yard in central London on Thursday afternoon to mark the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

They held placards and banners, gave speeches and took part in a short silence to honour women and girls killed by men in the past year.

Million Women Rise vigil
Those taking part held placards and banners (James Manning/PA)

The vigil, supported by Reclaim These Streets, also saw activists demand a clear dialogue from police on tackling the issue.

Pictures of those affected by male violence over the past year were also plastered around the police headquarters.

Those taking part mentioned the case of Sarah Everard and that of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry as evidence of why action is needed.

Spokeswoman Sabrina Qureshi said: “We’re heading for Scotland Yard because we need those who work there to understand that we hold them critically responsible for the ongoing, disastrous failures to protect all women and girls from violence, and that many among their number are actually implicated as abusers.

Million Women Rise vigil
Sarah Everard’s murder was remembered by the demonstrators (James Manning/PA)

“There is racism and misogyny in the ranks and it is clear that it is tolerated. Whole sections of the community feel they cannot rely on the police if they need to report domestic or sexual violence for example, and this is extremely disruptive to any notion of policing by consent.

“There are racist attitudes among police officers which mean that black women are both targeted by abusive police officers and are not afforded the protection from police we have a right to when we seek it.

“We see no real or heartfelt commitment to change from the police.

“What has been offered in terms of ‘action plans’ this year, which will culminate in additional police patrols in nightclubs for year end, is pure PR and we reject it.”

Million Women Rise vigil
Speeches about the effect of male violence took place (James Manning/PA)

Those at the scene spoke of the need to highlight the effect male violence has on black and disabled women in particular.

One of them, Marai Larasi, told the PA news agency: “We are here in grief and mourning for our sisters whose lives have been taken away primarily by men.

“We’re also here on the front doorstep of the Metropolitan Police because some of those men, some of those perpetrators, are police officers.

“We also know that the police has accountability for protecting the people who are living on these islands, the police aren’t doing enough of that and so we’re here to grieve but also to demand accountability and change, system-level change.”

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