Reclaim The Streets Trends In UK As Police Cancel Sarah Everard Vigil
Reclaim The Streets is trending in the UK as police put a stop to a vigil for Sarah Everard.
The vigil was cancelled ‘in light of the lack of constructive engagement from the Metropolitan Police’, as per the group Reclaim These Streets.
Reclaim These Streets, which had been organising the event, had wanted to hold a short gathering ‘centred around a minute of silence to remember Sarah Everard and all women lost to violence’.
However, the group was told by the Met Police that pushing ahead with the gathering could result in each of the women organisers being handed a £10,000 fine.
As per a statement from Reclaim These Streets:
Even if we came to this amazing community for help in meeting those costs, we think that this would be a poor use of our and your money.
We do not want to see hundreds of thousands of pounds contributed to a system that consistently fails to keep women safe – either in public spaces or in the privacy of their homes. Women’s rights are too important.
According to Reclaim These Streets, although they have had ‘positive discussion 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’.
Organisers believe the event could have been carried out in accordance with coronavirus health and safety regulations of the police had shown ‘constructive engagement’.
Going forward, Reclaim These Streets organisers have instead set up a fundraiser to raise the money they would have been liable for in fines, donating this to support women’s causes around the country.
The group will also be donating the remaining funds of their legal costs crowdfunder to this fund, with the goal of raising £320,000. This adds up to £10,000 for each location where vigils had been expected to take place. Over £63,400 has been raised at the time of writing.
Despite the cancellation, many are still showing support for #ReclaimTheStreets on Twitter, sharing their own stories and experiences. Others have used the hashtag to criticise the Met Police’s lack of support for the vigil.
One person tweeted:
Just so I am clear – children can sit in classrooms; people can sit in open plan offices day after day, can cram onto buses and the tube but..
..women who fear for their safety daily are prohibited from holding an open air socially distanced vigil…OK THEN #ReclaimTheStreets
I want a world where our daughters don’t walk with their keys in their hand, can wear headphones at night, don’t have to cross the street to avoid a group of men. Habits that are so ingrained, we have come to accept them as normal. #SarahEverard #ReclaimTheStreets
A virtual vigil with be held for Sarah Everard this evening at 9.30pm, March 13, with people up and down the country lighting candles on their doorsteps and in their gardens.
You can donate to the Just Giving page for yourself here.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, you can contact Victim Support free on 08 08 16 89 111 available 24/7, every day of the year, including Christmas.
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Reclaim These Streets