Updated: Mar 27
So, what’s the difference between the vigil held for Sarah Everard attended by 100’s of women wanting to peacefully assemble with other women while reflecting on the inequalities and iniquities of daily life as a woman* and the assembly of 100’s of revellers in Manchester and Liverpool enjoying themselves together celebrating St Patrick's day?
To put this question into context, one was forcibly broken up with many people arrested and charged with unlawful assembly whereas in the other, people were "managed" although 40 were given on the spot fines for breaking pandemic regulations.
On one the police have since refused to apologise for their approach whereas on the other the police decided to "engage" with those present.
So, what is the difference?. is it;
1: The Police thought that as one assembly was predominantly attended by women*, they could forcibly break the assembly up without risk of physical violence to the predominantly male police force?
2: Did the Police feel the St Patrick's day celebrations were just a bit of fun, and who doesn’t like a bit of fun, and that they would probably like to be there too?
3: Did the Police worry that breaking up a lot of people who were not challenging the political status quo actually might turn violent if they started pushing a lot of men about, challenging their civil liberties?
4: Did they want to teach “all those women” who were challenging the political status quo a lesson in who is in charge?
The answer is all of the above but the truth lies not in the fact that we are in the middle of a health pandemic but that the murder of Sarah Everard (probably by a police officer) has brought to all of our attentions the fact that men have been behaving appallingly towards women for millennia and have been getting away with it because of the privilege associated with being male and by rigging the debate.
Ultimately, it comes down to Politics and it's no surprise that Pritti Patel, our appalling home secretary, was so worried that if enough women made enough noise that they might actually be heard, someone would then have to do something and so she instructed that the vigil was broken up, effectively using the police as a bullying tool of the Conservative party.
It is equally appalling that given hindsight of their actions and their heavy-handed approach has been criticised that the Police and Pritti Patel are still unable to apologise.
So, I will apologise for them.
I'M SORRY !
Its not enough but it’s not hard to say and if it’s sincere, it’s a small step towards truth and reconciliation. Change is required. Hold on, its coming.
* for woman read any one identifying as a woman