From a reader in Europe:

Stop Violence Against Women! Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for Revolution!



The brutal murder of a young woman has sparked an explosion of protest in the United Kingdom against violence inflicted on women. Sarah Everard, 33 years old, had been walking home from a friend’s place in south London on the evening of March 3 when she disappeared. Her body was found several days later, and a few days after that a member of the elite police unit that protects diplomats and parliamentarians was arrested and charged with her abduction and murder.

Sarah’s murder touched a deep vein of anger and resentment at the condition of women in British society that took over the public debate. What kind of society is it where women have to fear for their lives simply for walking down the streets? How outrageous was the initial response of the police, who told women to stay home, as if they, and not male violence, were the problem? A call for a vigil Saturday night, March 13, on Clapham Commons, near where Sarah had disappeared, tapped these deeply held feelings, and within 24 hours, vigils were announced in dozens of cities throughout the country, with thousands signing up to attend.

The police, rather than cooperating with the organizers to figure out some way to hold the vigils in a safe way, banned them outright, a move that got backing from Britain’s High Court. This only strengthened the determination of many women to turn out, saying they refused to be silenced, and several thousand women and hundreds of men, almost all wearing masks, showed up on Clapham Common at 6 pm. The sorrow and rage was palpable, as chants rang out—“Say her name—Sarah Everard,” “How many more, how many women!?” and simply “97%,” referring to the percentage of young women who, according to a recent survey by UN Women UK, have been subject to sexual harassment. Many brought flowers and candles.

And then the police struck. A squad of cops barged onto the bandstand where the organizers were speaking, seized their megaphones and banners, and arrested several. Pictures of a young woman thrown to the ground with a cop kneeling on her back went viral, and were all over the front pages of the next day’s mainstream media. The crowd exploded in anger: “Police go home, leave us alone,” “You are the problem!,” “Arrest your own”—and, echoing the cry of last summer’s protests against police brutality on Black people, “No justice, no peace.”

A leaflet was eagerly snapped up that cited Bob Avakian’s critical analysis that

The whole question of the position and role of women in society is more and more acutely posing itself in today’s extreme circumstances—this is a powderkeg in the U.S. today. It is not conceivable that all this will find any resolution other than in the most radical terms and through extremely violent means. The question yet to be determined is: will it be a radical reactionary or a radical revolutionary resolution, will it mean the reinforcing of the chains of enslavement or the shattering of the most decisive links in those chains and the opening up of the possibility of realizing the complete elimination of all forms of such enslavement.

The vigil organizers, Reclaim These Streets, issued a statement Sunday morning denouncing the police attacks, and pointing out the outrageous picture of young women being manhandled by police at a protest against male violence. Prominent politicians issued demands for the resignation of the head of London’s Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick. The enforcers of a capitalist-imperialist system have struck out to defend a pillar of the dominant relations in the society, a patriarchal order in which half of humanity is subordinated to the other half... but the fury boiling close beneath the surface is spilling over.

Sarah Everard

Bob Avakian: What If the World Doesn't Have To Be This Way?

Vigil Saturday night, March 13, on Clapham Commons, London, near where Sarah Everard disappeared.



Get a free email subscription to

Volunteers Needed... for and Revolution

Send us your comments.