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The organisers of a vigil for Sarah Everard are taking legal action after Metropolitan Police said they could face ‘tens of thousands of pounds in fines and criminal prosecution’ if the event goes ahead.
A socially-distanced vigil for all women who ‘feel unsafe on the streets and face violence everyday’ is planned to take place at 6 pm in Clapham Common, South London on March 13.
A spokeswoman for Reclaim These Streets said they initially received a positive reception from police but officers have since reversed their position due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The group has accused police of ‘silencing thousands of women' who are fighting to feel safe on the street in memory of Sarah.
A Met Police spokesperson claims the force is ‘still in discussion’ with the organisers and ‘understand the public’s strength of feeling’ on Ms Everard’s disappearance, the Metro reports.
Detectives searching for the ‘kind and strong’ marketing executive discovered human remains in Ashford, Kent, on March 10. They have not yet been formally identified.
Met police officer Wayne Couzens, 48, has been arrested on suspicion of kidnap and murder. He was taken to hospital after being found collapsed in his cell last night with head injuries but has now been discharged and remains in custody.
A spokeswoman for the Reclaim These Streets group said it will seek an order in the High Court on Friday (March 12) challenging the police's view of coronavirus restrictions when read against human rights law.
In a statement, the organisers said: "When we initially proposed the event, we proactively reached out to Lambeth Council and Metropolitan Police to ensure that the event could safely and legally take place.
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"After initially receiving a positive response, we continued to plan and promote the event and continued to update the Council and Police.
"The Metropolitan Police said that they were “trying to navigate a way through” and that they were “currently developing a local policing plan” to allow the vigil to take place and to enable them to ‘develop an appropriate and proportionate local response’ to the event.
"Since this statement, the Metropolitan Police have reversed their position and stated that the vigil would be unlawful and that, as organisers, we could face tens of thousands of pounds in fines and criminal prosecution under the Serious Crimes Act."
- MET Police
- Sarah Everard
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