Sarah Everard: virtual gathering to replace Clapham vigil

Event organisers have confirmed a vigil to mark the memory of Sarah Everard will not go ahead in Clapham this evening.

Reclaim These Streets had been planning to host a vigil on Clapham Common, near to where the 33-year-old, whose body was formally identified on Friday, went missing.

But organisers said that despite their attempts to work with police to ensure the vigil could proceed safely, they now felt it could not go ahead.

It comes after the High Court rejected a case brought forward by campaigners trying to overturn the Met Police’s decision that a vigil on Clapham Common would be “unlawful”.

Police constable Wayne Couzens, 48, has been charged with kidnapping and killing the 33-year-old marketing executive, who went missing on March 3.

He appeared in person at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Saturday morning for his first appearance following his arrest on Tuesday.

See more: Met police officer charged with kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard

Members of the public have since placed flowers at the band stand in Clapham Common in tribute to Sarah Everard.

Reclaim These Streets are encouraging people to join a doorstep vigil at 9.30pm today ( March 13).

In a statement posted on Twitter, the campaign group said it would be joining people across the country and “shining a light – a candle, a torch, a phone – to remember Sarah Everard and all the women affected by and lost to violence”.

“We continue to strongly encourage people not to attend any gatherings on Clapham Common this evening. Safety, both from Covid-19 and legal consequences, has always been our top priority for the women of south London.”

It added: “We aren’t just lighting a candle for the women we’ve lost: we have been inspired by the women who have reached out and hope this is just the start of a movement that will light a fire for change.”

More: High Court rejects bid to overturn police ban on Clapham vigil

Today, Met Police Commander Catherine Roper, said the force took “no joy” in the cancellation of the Clapham vigil but insisted it was the “right thing to do”.

She said: “I would like to thank the organisers of tonight’s vigil in Clapham Common for cancelling the gathering. Since Sarah’s disappearance, we have shared Londoners’ anguish, shock and sadness at the truly awful circumstances of her disappearance and death.

“I know that yesterday’s ruling would have been unwelcome news for the organisers and to those who were hoping to join others in tribute to Sarah and to make a stand on violence against women.”

Organisers said they were told that going ahead with a vigil could risk a £10,000 fine each for each woman organising, and that they thought meeting those costs “would be a poor use of our and your money”.

They are now aiming to raise £320,000 – £10,000 for each of the 32 vigils which they said had been scheduled across the UK – for women’s charitable causes.

Donations reached £180,523 at the time of publishing.

To donate visit here.

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