Sarah Everard vigil organiser says movement will ‘only grow bigger’

Chloe Whyte said Reclaim These Streets would hold in-person events as soon as it was safe to do so.

Sarah Everard vigil organiser says movement will ‘only grow bigger’

The organiser of an online vigil for Sarah Everard hopes to hold an in-person event as soon as it is safe to do so, saying the Reclaim These Streets movement will “only grow bigger and bigger”.

In-person vigils planned for Saturday evening were cancelled and moved online following a decision by a High Court judge in London.

Events had been planned across the UK, including in Edinburgh and Glasgow, to pay tribute to Ms Everard, who disappeared while walking home in London and whose remains were found this week.

On Friday, Scottish Health Secretary Jeane Freeman suggested women should find another way to pay tribute to the 33-year-old, warning any vigil in a public place would go against coronavirus restrictions.

Sarah Everard death
People light candles outside the Scottish Parliament in memory of Sarah Everard (Jane Barlow/PA)

She said organisers did not want to be responsible for women who attended in-person vigils potentially being fined for breaking lockdown rules.

Ms Whyte said: “This is only getting bigger and bigger, regardless of what the police or the law have to say about our vigils, women will not be silenced.

“We will be taking to the streets as soon as it is legal and safe to do so.

“In the meantime, the campaigns online are only growing.”

She continued: “What would come from this conversation is beginning to dismantle a system that I say would enable people in power and people who hold positions over women to abuse that, to make us feel vulnerable and unsafe on the streets.

“I think that so many folks can relate to Sarah Everard’s story but there’s unheard voices out there who probably will never be able to tell their stories in the media because it just doesn’t fit the narrative that’s going on in the UK.”

Sarah Everard missing
Sarah Everard went missing in London (Met Police/PA)

She said: “The tragic story of Sarah Everard and the national outpouring it has provoked has shone a light on just how many women have been made to feel unsafe on our streets due to sexual harassment and violence. This is a moment of reflection, but also one of action.

“Please do NOT go to Holyrood or St Andrew’s Square tomorrow, as sadly any gatherings there will be dispersed by police.”

A number of people attended at Holyrood to lay flowers and candles.

Among placards placed outside the building were ones reading “end femicide” and others calling for feminist legislation.

Sarah Everard death
People gather outside the Scottish Parliament after the Reclaim These Streets vigil for Sarah Everard in Edinburgh was cancelled (Jane Barlow/PA)

Posting on Facebook, they urged people not to remain at the sites, but return home safely and plan to collect the notes later and “collate these into a manifesto for change”.

Earlier, a High Court judge in London refused to intervene on behalf of the Reclaim These Streets group in a legal challenge over the right to gather for a protest during coronavirus restrictions.

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