Douglas Ross has said he is appalled by the actions of the Metropolitan Police after officers made numerous arrests at a vigil in London over the weekend.
The Moray MP described scenes at Clapham Common in South London, where hundreds gathered on Saturday evening following the death of Sarah Everard, as “shocking” and “unacceptable”.
The organised demonstration, under the Reclaim These Streets banner, took place close to where Ms Everard was last seen alive as she walked home from a friend’s house on March 3.
Despite being illegal under Covid-19 lockdown regulations, women proceeded to gather at the park’s bandstand after police refused to give the organisers a permit.
What started as a peaceful protest soon turned violent as police trampled flowers and candles laid out in tribute whilst trying to silence women speaking out in her memory.
Disgraceful doesn’t cut it. We should all march tomorrow pic.twitter.com/HI4KquVrBW
— Liam Young (@liamyoung) March 13, 2021
Speaking on BBC’s Good Morning Scotland, Douglas Ross said: “I think the scenes we saw in London were shocking and the Met Commissioner has accepted that it was not an appropriate way to police those protests.
“At the heart of this it was women, because they didn’t feel safe.
“To then see the actions of the Metropolitan Police, for women who were campaigning and protesting on such an important issue, it was unacceptable.
“No one can look at those scenes at the weekend and not be appalled by what they saw.”
Should Cressida Dick resign?
Pressure has been mounting on Britain’s most senior police chief to resign following widespread outrage over officers manhandling women at the London rally.
An independent inquiry has been ordered by the policing inspectorate and will analyse the actions made by Cressida Dick – with the report is due in a fortnight.
Asked if the Metropolitan police commissioner should resign, Mr Ross said: “I don’t think that is for me… the focus right now should be on seeing what the issues were and trying to resolve them.
Contrasting images: League winners and vigil protestors
Social media erupted over the weekend with many online users comparing the stark differences in policing from the vigil to that of Rangers fans who gathered in Glasgow to celebrate their team’s recent Scottish League title win.
men celebrating a football win versus women protesting male violence pic.twitter.com/qvhmUxw4WU
— Jon Brady (@jonbradyphoto) March 13, 2021
With Celtic hosting the newly crowned league winners on Sunday, the Old Firm is potentially in doubt, however Mr Ross – a professional referee – believes if both teams are professional it should go ahead.
He said: “I believe both these clubs have a lot of experience both at home and abroad, dealing with difficult fixtures and high-pressure matches.
“Whether at Celtic Park, Ibrox or Hampden they have all been conducted in an extremely professional way by the clubs.
“I think the clubs working together with the authorities will be able to host the match this weekend.”