Hundreds gather for peaceful vigil in memory of murdered Zara Aleena

Written by Amy Beecham

Crowds of well-wishers paid tribute to the 35-year-old who was attacked and killed as she returned from a night-out in the early hours of Sunday 26 June.

Hundreds took to the streets this afternoon (2 July) to attend an east London vigil held in memory of Zara Aleena, 35, who was attacked and killed as she returned from a night-out in the early hours of Sunday 26 June.

Aleena is the 16th woman to have been murdered in London this year, as concern around women’s safety and violence against women.

Jordan McSweeney, 29, has since been charged with her murder, alongside attempted rape and robbery. 

In a statement issued through the Met police, Aleena’s family said: “She walked everywhere. She put her party shoes in a bag and donned her trainers. She walked.”

“Zara believed that a woman should be able to walk home. Now, her dreams of a family are shattered, her future brutally taken.”

Jamie Klinger, co-founder of campaign group Reclaim These Streets, was one of many to share details of the vigil on social media. 

“She was ten minutes away from home,” it read. “We want to bring her back where she belonged safely.”

Hundreds gathered for the silent march and wore white to pay their respects to Aleena and her family. Many held also pictures of Aleena and pink flowers were passed through the crowds. 

“I’ve spent my whole life scared of walking home at night, changing out of my heels and into trainers always made me feel safer,” one attendee tweeted.

“As a society we need to more directly confront the causes of male violence and rage towards women. Love to the family and friends of #ZaraAleena”.

The march took place at 2.17, the time of the morning on 26 June when Aleena was attacked minutes from her home near Gants Hill.

The vigil was attended by politics figures including Women’s Equality Party leader Mandu Reid, who wrote that the group will “demand a more robust political response, because #EnoughIsEnough”.

“All women should be able to walk home safely. My thoughts and prayers go out to Zara Aleena’s family and friends, who came together with others today to remember her life and complete her journey home,” tweeted Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

“Everyone is entitled to feel safe and be safe, and we must do everything possible to bring an end to violence against women and girls.”

Images: Clive Power

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