A Reclaim These Streets vigil due to take place on Clapham Common on Saturday, near where Sarah Everard was last seen as she made her way home to Brixton, has been told by the Met it would be against Covid-19 restrictions.
Organisers claimed that they had been threatened with fines and prosecutions if the vigil went ahead.
In statement, Reclaim These Streets said: “The Metropolitan Police … stated that the vigil would be unlawful, that their ‘hands are tied’ by the Covid-19 regulations and that, as organisers, we could face tens of thousands of pounds in fixed penalty notices and criminal prosecution under the Serious Crimes Act.
“We have decided to seek an urgent order from the High Court confirming that the Metropolitan Police’s understanding of the law is wrong.”
Organisers raised around £30,000 in a matter of hours to cover legal fees. The Met said it “remained in discussions with organisers”.
Jamie Klingler, who helped organise the Clapham vigil, said: “There is a lot of anger, fear and upset and we just wanted to show Sarah’s family solidarity. The streets should be safer for women, regardless of what they are wearing or what time they are out. We have seen so many talk about their experiences on social media.
“Sarah did all the right things, the things we are told to do. She stuck to the main roads with street lighting, she was wearing bright colours. The response should not be that we have to do more to protect ourselves.”
London mayor, Sadiq Khan, acknowledged that the capital’s streets are not safe for women or girls, telling LBC: “It’s really important that people of my gender understand that.
“If you’re a woman or a girl, your experiences of our city, in any public space, whether it’s in the workplace on the streets, on public transport is very different to if you are a man or a boy, and it’s really important that people like me in positions of power and influence understand that and take steps to address that.”
The prime minister, Boris Johnson, said he was “shocked and deeply saddened” by the disappearance of Everard, adding: “We must work fast to find all the answers to this horrifying crime.”
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.