POLITICIANS from across the spectrum have united to condemn the "outrageous" behaviour of police in London who moved to break up a vigil held to commemorate Sarah Everard.

The 33-year-old disappeared while walking home from a friend’s flat in south London on Wednesday March 3.

A policeman, 48-year-old Wayne Couzens, has been arrested and charged in connection with the crime.

Couzens will stand trial for kidnapping and murder.

READ MORE: Edinburgh vigils for Sarah Everard go online only due to Covid-19 restrictions

The incident has prompted outpourings of grief across the UK, with many candlelit vigils being proposed in honour of Everard.

The vigils planned for Edinburgh and Glasgow were cancelled in favour of online-only events following pleas from the Scottish Government and warnings of the risk of spreading Covid.

In London, hundreds of people, including the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, went to Clapham Common to honour the memory of the murdered Everard.

A statement from the Metropolitan Police had previously urged people to “stay at home or find a lawful and safer way to express your views”, given that the coronavirus restrictions currently in place ban such gatherings. 

As the evening wore on, police clashed with attendees in scenes labelled "shameful" and "disgraceful" across social media.

However, police clashed with the peaceful protesters, causing outrage across social media, both domestically and internationally.

Commenting on a picture of a young woman who had been attending the vigil being pinned down by police, SNP MP Joanna Cherry wrote simply: “This is wrong.”

Later, the MP added: "Questions will require to be asked in @HouseofCommons on Monday re policing of #ReclaimTheNight vigil in London tonight. In Scotland we had some pretty questionable policing decisions last weekend. Scrutiny is essential. #WomensRightsMatter"

LBC radio presenter Iain Dale shared a picture of the same woman, saying: “The pictures this evening of police officers manhandling peaceful women bring shame on the @metpoliceuk. There has to be consistency in policing protests.

“They allow violent protests to go ahead with little consequence, yet in this case they pick on peaceful women. Outrageous.”

Responding, Cherry wrote: “Well said, Iain.”

The actions of the Metropolitan Police have now prompted Home Secretary Priti Patel to demand a “full report” on the incident.

Patel tweeted: “Some of the footage circulating online from the vigil in Clapham is upsetting. I have asked the Metropolitan Police for a full report on what happened.

“My thoughts remain with Sarah’s family and friends at this terrible time.”

Altercations were seen to break out between police and people attending the vigil, with eyewitnesses reporting that arrests also seemed to have been made.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan tweeted: “The scenes from Clapham Common are unacceptable. The police have a responsibility to enforce Covid laws but from images I’ve seen it’s clear the response was at times neither appropriate nor proportionate.”

He said he was “in contact” with Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick, and was “urgently seeking an explanation”.

LibDem leader Ed Davey called for Dick to consider her position following a "complete abject tactical and moral failure" on the part of her officers.

The police’s heavy-handed treatment of the women present at the vigil prompted comparisons to the events of the previous weekend, when police were seen standing by while Rangers fans trashed the city’s George Square.

Commenting on one such comparison, LibDem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton wrote: “This feels like a moment. Big, important questions about policing and our priorities as a society stem from what happened tonight.”

Conservative MSP and former Scottish Tory leader Jackson Carlaw tweeted: “Tonight required sensitive policing and intuitive understanding; a rebuilding of confidence.

“Instead the authorities have lost their heads. All proportion has been lost and it’s completely and utterly unacceptable.”

Labour MP Abena Oppong-Asare tweeted: "I am appalled - sickened - by the scenes from the Sarah Everard vigil tonight. What was already a breakdown in confidence in the police has been made far, far worse. We need to very urgently hear from @metpoliceuk about how this can possibly have been allowed to happen."

Her party leader, Keir Starmer, wrote: "The scenes in Clapham this evening are deeply disturbing. Women came together to mourn Sarah Everard - they should have been able to do so peacefully.

"I share their anger and upset at how this has been handled. This was not the way to police this protest."

National columnist and former SNP MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh commented: “For absolute shame. And our daughters are watching. Shocking. #ReclaimTheStreets”

Prominent Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt wrote: “Scandalous behavior by the Police at #SarahEverard vigil!

“But … ‘never be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble’ - John Lewis.”

Scots Lawyer Aamer Anwar tweeted: “Where is the proportionality? @metpoliceuk acting like thugs in uniform attacking a peace vigil at Clapham, institutional misogyny on full display, on the very day one of your own is in court charged with murder, you did this for a reason.”

Gracie Bradley, interim director of human rights group Liberty, said: “Police were given the choice on how to approach this protest. They could have worked with organisers to ensure people could collectively grieve and protest a lack of protection.

“But instead they chose aggressive interventions that put people’s health at risk and led to chaos and distress.

“The true architect of this disaster is the Home Secretary, who has relentlessly demonised protesters and refused to support a protest exemption to the lockdown rules.

“She has undermined a vital pillar of democracy in the process, and pitched police against the public by encouraging aggressive enforcement against those who take to the streets to dissent.”

The vigil had been cancelled by organisers, after which the Metropolitan Police issued a statement. 

In the statement issued in the morning of March 13, Commander Catherine Roper, the Met’s lead for Community Engagement, said the force shared people's "anguish, shock and sadness at the truly awful circumstances of [Everard's] disappearance and death".

"While we understand their frustrations of this cancellation and share the nation's outrage at this crime, we must all continue to work together to fight Covid-19 and keep each other safe.

“Throughout the day we will have officers on patrol throughout the capital. We are there to keep people safe and will be highly visible and supporting our communities.”