Who are Reclaim These Streets and what happened at Sarah Everard's vigil?

COPS stormed a vigil held for Sarah Everard last night as mourners gathered in London – despite Reclaim These Streets dropping official plans after police threatened to impose fines.

Met Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick is now facing calls to quit after officers were pictured man-handling women on Clapham Common.


What is Reclaim These Streets?

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" following the death of Sarah Everard.

Events had been planned across the UK, including a vigil on Clapham Comon to pay tribute to Sarah, who disappeared while walking home in London and whose remains were found this week.

The vigils were seen as 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."

On March 12, police confirmed a body found in Kent woodlands is that of missing Sarah Everard.

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.

What happened at Sarah Everard's vigil?

Despite vigils being cancelled after cops threatened to impose fines of £10,000 each on the people who were organising the events up and down the country, many still gathered on Clapham Common last night (Saturday, March 13).

Heavy-handed cops dragged tearful women away from a candle-lit shrine during ugly clashes in Clapham, south London.

Mourners shouted “shame on you” at officers as they ripped women off the metal railings.

Shocking pictures showed one 5ft 2in mourner being pinned to the floor as she was arrested and others cuffed as they were led away.

The Met Police have since confirmed that four people were arrested during the clashes.

Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey has called for the Met Police Commissioner to "consider" her leadership of the force, as fury mounts over cops storming mourners as last night's vigil.

He branded the scenes "a complete abject tactical and moral failure on the part of the police".

Home Secretary Ms Patel has called for a "full report" from the Met Police into the clashes on the Common.

She wrote on Twitter: "Some of the footage circulating online from the vigil in Clapham is upsetting.

"I have asked the Metropolitan Police for a full report on what happened.

"My thoughts remain with Sarah’s family and friends at this terrible time."

Why were Sarah Everard's vigils cancelled?

The March 13 event was put in jeopardy after the Met Police was accused of "reversing its position" and threatening to fine organisers thousands of pounds if they broke Covid restrictions.

Police said the vigils would contravene the coronavirus regulations.

Instead Reclaim These Streets urged people to join a doorstep vigil at 9.30pm on Saturday, March 13.

On March 12, vigil organisers tried seeking urgent legal intervention after claiming the Met Police reversed its position on allowing the event to go ahead.

A High Court judge though refused to intervene on behalf of the group in a legal challenge over the right to gather for a protest during coronavirus restrictions.

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.

In a tweet on Saturday morning the group said: "We have been very disappointed that given the many opportunities to engage with organisers constructively, the Metropolitan Police have been unwilling to commit to anything.

"While we have had positive discussions with the Lambeth officers present, those from Scotland Yard would not engage with our suggestions to help ensure that a legal, Covid-secure vigil could take place."

They added that "in light of the lack of constructive engagement from the Metropolitan Police, we do not feel that we can in good faith allow tonight's event to go ahead".

Commander Catherine Roper, Metropolitan Police lead for community engagement, 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."

Reclaim These Streets said they would "strongly encourage people not to gather this evening on Clapham Common".

The group haslaunched a Just Giving page 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.


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