Britons have today pledged to attend a vigil for
Organisers of a gathering for the marketing executive, 33, in Clapham Common, south
But people have vowed to attend the London event on Saturday regardless of the outcome, despite the Metropolitan Police warning the public they should ‘stay at home or find a lawful and safer way to express your views’.
Reclaim These Streets is planning to host the vigil at the bandstand in Clapham Common, near to where Sarah went missing at around 9.30pm on March 3.
A High Court judge last night refused to intervene on behalf of the group in a legal challenge over the right to gather for a protest during coronavirus restrictions.
The vigil was planned for Saturday in memory of marketing executive Sarah Everard, who disappeared while walking home to Brixton on March 3
A High Court judge last night refused to intervene on behalf of the group in a legal challenge over the right to gather for a protest during coronavirus restrictions
The group brought an urgent action in a bid for a declaration that any ban on outdoor gatherings under coronavirus regulations is ‘subject to the right to protest’, and thus the vigil should be allowed to happen.
Mr Justice Holgate declined to grant the group’s request and also refused to make a declaration that an alleged policy by the force of ‘prohibiting all protests, irrespective of the specific circumstances’ is unlawful.
Despite the ruling, many women said they still planned to attend the Clapham vigil.
Becki Elson last night insisted she will be at Clapham Common Bandstand at 6pm on Saturday with her 19-year-old daughter Megen.
Becki Elson (left with daughter Megan) was one of many to say they will be attending the vigil, saying she will be at the Clapham Common Bandstand at 6pm on Saturday
One of the placards for the London vigil for Sarah Everard, which many have said they will attend regardless of the outcome of campaigners’ discussions with police
Police officers at Clapham Common carry out reassurance patrols, after a body found hidden in woodland in Kent was identified as that of 33-year-old Sarah Everard
‘Even if no one else shows up, we will take a moment to remember Sarah and leave a candle for her,’ the 35-year-old from Brixton said.
‘It’s time for women to fight back, to take control, to lead the way out of this nightmare that has lasted the entire span of human history.’
However, some events have now been cancelled following the decision, including one in Whitstable, Kent.
And planned events in Cardiff and Edinburgh will now take place virtually, according to posts on Facebook
The High Court judge left it open for talks between the organisers and police to continue over the ‘application of the regulations and the (rights to freedom of expression and assembly)’ to the event, but said it would ‘not be appropriate’ for the court to make the declaration sought.
Discussions are ongoing with the Metropolitan Police about whether the event can take place
Despite the ruling, many women said they still planned to attend the Clapham vigil
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick joins police officers at Clapham Common as part of reassurance patrols, after a body found hidden in woodland in Kent was identified as that of Miss Everard
Organisers of a gathering in memory of Sarah Everard have claimed the Metropolitan Police have ‘reversed their position’ on permitting the vigil to take place
In a statement after the ruling, Reclaim These Streets said: ‘We are working with (Lambeth) Council, who remain wholly supportive.
‘We call on the police to act within the law now and confirm that they will work with us to ensure that the protest can go ahead within the context of the overwhelming public response to Sarah Everard’s death.’
In a tweet, they added: ‘We are now in discussions with the Met to confirm how the event can proceed in a way that is proportionate and safe – our number one priority.’
Commander Catherine Roper, the Met’s lead for community engagement, said in a statement: ‘I understand this ruling will be a disappointment to those hoping to express their strength of feeling, but I ask women and allies across London to find a safe alternative way to express their views.
‘Throughout the pandemic, we have consistently enforced the Covid regulations and have made difficult decisions during a range of gatherings on issues about which people have felt very strongly.
There was an increased police presence on Clapham Common on Friday morning
Street lighting was being fixed on Clapham Common in London on Friday morning
‘Our hope has always been that people stick to the Covid rules, taking enforcement action is always a last resort.
‘We continue to speak with the organisers of the vigil in Clapham and other gatherings across London in light of this judgment and will explain the rules and urge people to stay at home.’
Reclaim These Streets was organised after the disappearance of Ms Everard prompted a public outcry about women’s safety.
The event was due to take place at Clapham Common bandstand at 6pm on Saturday.
Ms Everard’s body was found in woodland in Kent, after she went missing walking home in south London on March 3.
Serving Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens, 48 was charged on Friday evening with kidnapping and killing the marketing executive.
Ms Everard is thought to have walked through Clapham Common towards her house in Brixton – a journey which should have taken around 50 minutes.
Her death has prompted an outpouring of grief from the public, with many women and girls sharing stories online of experiencing violence by men.
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