THE High Court is deciding whether 'Covid-secure vigils' to remember Sarah Everard and other women lost to violence can go ahead tomorrow.
Reclaim These Streets organisers launched a legal battle to hold the vigils after cops declared them unlawful during the UK's pandemic lockdown.
🔵 Follow our live blog for the latest developments on the Sarah Everard case
What is Reclaim These Streets?
Sarah Everard's vigil is due to take place at 6pm on Saturday, March 13.
A website says that Reclaim These Streets "is organised by a group of women who wanted to channel the collective grief, outrage and sadness in our community.
"Our plan is to hold a short gathering on Clapham Common, centred around a minute of silence to remember Sarah Everard and all women lost to violence."
Events have been planned across the UK to pay tribute to Sarah, who disappeared while walking home in London and whose remains were found this week.
The vigils are also a way of publicly urging for women's safety in the UK's streets.
Organisers add: "We believe that streets should be safe for women, regardless of what you wear, where you live or what time of day or night it is.
"We shouldn’t have to wear bright colours when we walk home and clutch our keys in our fists to feel safe.
“It’s wrong that the response to violence against women requires women to behave differently. In Clapham, police told women not to go out at night this week. Women are not the problem.
"We’ve all been following the tragic case of Sarah Everard over the last week.
"This is a vigil for Sarah, but also for all women who feel unsafe, who go missing from our streets and who face violence every day."
A body found in Kent woodlands is confirmed to be that of missing Sarah Everard, police said today.
The 33-year-old had been walking home from Clapham, south London, on March 3 when she vanished – with the Met Police confirming officers have now launched a murder probe.
Is Sarah Everard's vigil still going ahead in London?
In an update on Twitter this afternoon, @Reclaim TS said: "A quick update from us – the court has the papers and but there has been no decision yet.
"We have now heard that our hearing will begin at 15:45 today, at the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court.
"We will provide further updates as we have them."
Why have the Met Police tried to ban the vigil?
The March 13 event has been put in jeopardy after the Met Police was accused of "reversing its position" and threatening to fine organisers thousands of pounds if they break Covid restrictions.
Vigil organisers are today, March 12, seeking urgent legal intervention after claiming the Met Police reversed its position on allowing the event to go ahead.
They explained on Twitter: "When we initially proposed the event we proactively reached out to Lambeth Council and the Met Police to ensure the event could safely and legally take place.
"After initially receiving a positive response, we continued to plan and promote the event."
However, organisers said the force had suddenly "reversed its position and stated the vigil would be unlawful", while threatening them with "tens of thousands of pounds in fines and criminal prosecution under the Serious Crimes Act".
They added: "We have taken urgent action from a group of human rights lawyers from Bindmans LLP and Blackstone and Doughty Street Chambers.
"Their view is that the Met Police are wrong in their interpretation of the law and that socially distant outdoor gatherings of this kind are allowed under the current lockdown regulations, when read together with the Human Rights Act."
What other vigils are taking place across the UK?
Aside from Clapham Common in London, Reclaim These Streets events have been planned across the UK, including in Edinburgh and Glasgow, to pay tribute to Sarah Everard.
Vigils are planned at:
- Birmingham – Victoria Square, 6pm, Saturday March 13
- Bournemouth – Town Square, 6pm, March 13
- Brighton – Valley Gardens, 6pm, March 13
- Bristol – College Green, 6pm, March 13
- Cambridge – King’s Parade, 6pm, March 13
- Cardiff – Senedd, Cardiff Bay, 6pm, March 13
- Chelmsford – Shire Hall, 6pm, March 13
- Cheltenham – bandstand, Montpellier Gardens, 6pm, March 13
- Clapham Common – bandstand, 6pm, March 13
- Crystal Palace – Crystal Palace Park, 6pm, March 13
- Dorking -Meadowbank Recreation Ground, 6pm, March 13
- Edinburgh – Scottish Parliament Building and St Andrews Square, 6pm, March 13
- Folkestone – Radnor Park, 6pm, March 13
- Hackney – London Fields Lido, 6pm, March 13
- Ipswich – Cornhill (outside Town Hall), 6pm, March 13
- Leeds – outside Parkinson Building, University of Leeds, 6pm, March 13
- Leicester – Clock Tower, 6pm, March 13
- Liverpool – St Luke’s Bombed Out Church, 6pm, March 13
- Margate – Main Sands steps, 6pm, March 13
- Newquay – The Barrowfields, 6pm, March 13
- Nottingham – Brian Clough Statue, Old Market Square, 6pm, March 13
- Sheffield -Devonshire Green, 6pm, March 13
- Shoreham by Sea, Coronation Green, 6pm, March 13
- Southampton – Southampton Common, 6pm, March 13
- Twickenham – Arthur’s on Twickenham Green, 6pm, March 13
- Walthamstow – Walthamstow Town Square, 6pm, March 13
- Whitstable – Whitstable Library, 6pm, March 13
- Worthing – Worthing Pier, 6pm, March 13
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