Several women vow to attend Sarah Everard vigil tonight – despite police urging them to stay home

Several women have said they will attend a planned vigil for Sarah Everard in London this evening – despite the police warning the public to stay at home.

The Reclaim These Streets event on Clapham Common was thrown into doubt after Scotland Yard warned the gathering would breach coronavirus regulations.

Organisers of the vigil mounted an urgent legal challenge in the High Court, but a judge refused to intervene.

One of those who has vowed to attend is Becki Elson, who plans to go to the vigil with her teenage daughter Megen in spite of the Met’s statement.

She said: “Even if no one else shows up, we will take a moment to remember Sarah and leave a candle for her.

“It’s time for women to fight back, to take control, to lead the way out of this nightmare that has lasted the entire span of human history.”

Reclaim These Streets events were also set to take place across the UK at 6pm tonight, but some have been cancelled in light of the police’s stance – and others are moving online.

Plans for a vigil in Whitstable have now been abandoned, while commemorations in Cardiff and Edinburgh will take place virtually.

An organiser for the event in Cardiff wrote: “After careful consideration (and much much bigger numbers than we ever expected!) we must respect that we are still under lockdown restrictions and in a pandemic, and neither one of us want anyone to put their health or the health of those they love at adverse risk.”

Last night, Reclaim These Streets said “ongoing discussions” had been taking place with the Met – and a statement on the Clapham Common event will be released this morning. Organisers also stressed that ensuring the event is “proportionate and safe” remains their top priority.

Commander Catherine Roper, the Met’s lead for community engagement, said: “I ask women and allies across London to find a safe alternative way to express their views.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have consistently enforced the COVID regulations and have made difficult decisions during a range of gatherings on issues about which people have felt very strongly.

“Our hope has always been that people stick to the COVID rules, taking enforcement action is always a last resort.

“We continue to speak with the organisers of the vigil in Clapham and other gatherings across London in light of this judgment and will explain the rules and urge people to stay at home.”

Reclaim These Streets was organised after the disappearance of Ms Everard prompted a public outcry about women’s safety.

The 33-year-old went missing on 3 March while she was walking home in south London, and her body was later found in woodland in Ashford, Kent.

Serving Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens, 48, was charged on Friday evening with kidnapping and killing the marketing executive.

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