Campaigners behind a planned vigil for Sarah Everard are hoping to take the Metropolitan Police to court over its decision to ban the event in March, a decision which has sparked weeks of rallies over the right to protest.
Activist group Reclaim These Streets had organised the vigil on Clapham Common after 33-year-old Everard disappeared as she walked home in Clapham on 3 March. Her body was discovered a week later in a woodland in Kent.
But the group was forced to cancel the event after police warned the vigil would be unlawful under coronavirus laws banning mass gatherings. Hundreds of women chose to attend the vigil regardless, some of whom were forcibly removed by officers in images that shocked the country.
Three months on, Reclaim These Streets is attempting to raise £20,000 to fund a case against the police’s decision, claiming it was “not about women’s safety or preventing the spread of Covid” but an attempt “to silence us”.
Jamie Klingler, one of the co-organisers of Reclaim These Streets, said this new case was about protecting the right for protest, regardless of potential future Covid-19 variants or lockdowns.
“What we’re trying to do is make sure that there’s always a right to protest, so it’s not up to the police to decide or interpret the law,” she told The Big Issue. “It needs to be out there in black and white that everyone has the human right to protest.”