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LEGAL action has been launched after cops were accused of a U-turn over this weekend’s Reclaim These Streets vigil for missing Sarah Everard.
It comes as a peer urged all men to abide by a 6pm curfew to make women feel safer on the streets.
? Follow our live blog for the latest developments on the case of missing Sarah Everard
Sarah Everard went missing on March 3, 2021Credit: Universal News & Sport
What time is Sarah Everard’s vigil on Saturday, March 13?
Sarah Everard‘s vigil is due to take place at 6pm on Saturday, March 13.
The event was organised after the 33-year-old’s suspected kidnap and murder sparked anger over the safety of women on the UK’s streets.
It is scheduled to begin at the bandstand in Clapham Common, South London – the area where Sarah was last seen as she walked towards her Brixton home on Wednesday, March 3.
Those unable to attend the vigil in person have been encouraged to tweet #ReclaimTheseStreets and/or light a candle at 6pm on March 13.
However, the 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.
The vigil is taking place at 6pm on Saturday, March 13Credit: Facebook
Who can attend Sarah Everard’s vigil?
The vigil is for Sarah and for all the women who feel unsafe, go missing from our streets and face violence every day.
Organisers said the event “is for and about women, but open to all”.
Anyone planning to attend the vigil is also encouraged to download the NHS contact tracing app and turn their Bluetooth on.
Sarah went missing after leaving her friend’s house in Clapham, South LondonCredit: PA:Press Association
The organisers of Reclaim These Streets said in a statement: “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.
“Come to the bandstand on Clapham Common at 6pm on Saturday, March 13 to reclaim these streets and our public spaces. This event is for and about women, but open to all. Bring a light to remember those we’ve lost.
“This vigil will observe strict Covid-19 safety guidelines, including compulsory mask-wearing and social distancing.
“We would also encourage anyone who comes along to download the NHS contact tracing app and turn their Bluetooth on.”
Will the vigil still go ahead?
Vigil organisers are today, Friday March 12, seeking urgent legal action 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.
“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.
Met Police parked near Great Chart Golf and Leisure in Ashford, KentCredit: PA:Press Association
“Our lawyers have now written to the Met Police, challenging [its] interpretation of coronavirus legislation.
“Should the judge decide in our favour, our Clapham vigil will be allowed to go ahead.
“Should the judge decide against us, we may be liable for the Met Police’s costs of up to £30,000.
“We will also be forced to cancel the vigil, and no women across England will be able to assemble to assert their rights.”
Determined to go ahead with the vigil, the organisers immediately launched a fundraising campaign for the legal challenge, and surpassed their £30,000 target – with extra donations going to a women’s charity.
They said overnight: “By forcing us to cancel the Reclaim These Streets vigil, the Met Police will be silencing thousands of women like us who want to honour Sarah’s memory and stand up for our right to feel safe on our streets.”
It’s not clear when the judge will determine the challenge, but the group is updating people via its Reclaim The Streets – @ReclaimTS – Twitter account.
Sarah Everard wearing the same coat as on the night she went missingCredit: PA:Press Association
What happened to Sarah Everard?
Sarah Everard, 33, went missing while walking home from a friend’s house in Clapham, South London, after 9pm on Wednesday, March 3, and has not been seen or heard from since.
She was last seen walking alone on a doorbell camera on the Poynders Road section of the South Circular – about halfway between her friend’s house and her own flat.
He is also being questioned about a separate allegation of indecent exposure.
Sarah went missing in the evening of March 3
A woman, in her 30s, is also in custody after being arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender.
However, the investigation is still ongoing and detectives have not yet been able to confirm the identity of the remains.
Dame Cressida said: “The discovery was made in an area of woodland in Ashford in Kent.
Officer Wayne Couzens has been arrested and is being questionedCredit: SWNS:South West News Service
“In this early stage we are not able to confirm any identity and that may take us some considerable time.
“The news today that it was Metropolitan Police officer has sent shock waves and anger through he public and through the met.
“I speak on behalf of all my colleagues when I say that we are utterly appalled at this dreadful news.”
Human remains were discovered in woodland near Ashford, KentCredit: Gary Stone – The Sun
Dad-of-four Nick, 62, of Coventry, said: “She would never have taken a lift with a stranger.
“She was sensible. She didn’t know him and she wouldn’t have voluntarily got into a car. I’m trying to work out what has happened.”
Why did Wayne Couzens go to hospital?’
The cop arrested on suspicion of kidnap and murder after the disappearance of Sarah Everard was on Thursday, March 11, rushed to hospital when he was found collapsed in his cell after suffering head wounds.
Met Pc Wayne Couzens was taken to hospital with a police guard following the incident at Wandsworth police station, South West London.
A source told The Sun: “He was found unconscious in his cell with head injuries.
“The custody officers rushed in and gave him immediate first aid and he was taken to hospital.
“It caused a hell of a panic and serious questions are being asked over how it happened.”