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Organisers of a vigil being held for Sarah Everard are seeking legal action after they say the Metropolitan Police reversed a decision to allow the event to take place this weekend.
The Reclaim These Streets vigil - due to take place in Clapham where Sarah went missing - was planned for Saturday evening, but organisers now say the Met Police has "reversed its decision" and stated that the vigil would be unlawful due to Covid restrictions.
Following its decision, a spokesperson for the Reclaim These Streets group has said it will seek a High Court appeal today, in a bid to challenge the Met's interpretation of Covid restrictions when read together with the Human Rights Act.
In a statement released on Twitter, organisers explained: "Our plan was to hold a short gathering, centred around a minute of silence to remember Sarah Everard and all women lost to violence
"We were always aware of the challenges of organising a Covid-secure vigil, but safety has been a top priority from the beginning.
"... When we initially proposed the event, we proactively reached out to Lambeth Council and Metropolitan Police to ensure that the event could safely and legally take place.
"After initially receiving a positive response, we continued to plan and promote the event and continued to update the Council and Police.
"The Metropolitan Police said that they were 'trying to navigate a way through' and that they were 'currently developing a local policing plan' to allow the vigil to take place and to enable them to 'develop an appropriate and proportionate local response' to the event.
"Since this statement, the Metropolitan Police have reversed their position and stated that the vigil would be unlawful and that, as organisers, we could face tens of thousands of pounds in fines and criminal prosecution under the Serious Crimes Act."
Organisers say they have taken urgent advice from human rights lawyers, whose "view is that the Metropolitan Police are wrong in their interpretation of the law and that socially distant, outdoor gathering of this kind can be allowed under the current lockdown regulations, when read together with the Human Rights Act."
Reclaim These Streets launched an online fundraiser to cover potential legal costs. So far it has raised over 37,000 and organisers say if they win their case, the money will be donated to a women's charity.
A spokesperson for the Met Police told Tyla: "We understand the public's strength of feeling and are aware of the statement issued by Reclaim The Streets with regard to a planned vigil for Sarah Everard in Clapham Common this weekend.
"We remain in discussion with the organisers about this event in light of the current Covid regulations."
As the investigation continues, police confirmed on Tuesday that unidentified human remains had been found in woodland in Kent.
In a statement, Sarah's family said: "Our beautiful daughter Sarah was taken from us and we are appealing for any information that will help to solve this terrible crime.
"Sarah was bright and beautiful - a wonderful daughter and sister. She was kind and thoughtful, caring and dependable. She always put others first and had the most amazing sense of humour.
"She was strong and principled and a shining example to us all. We are very proud of her and she brought so much joy to our lives.
"We would like to thank our friends and family for all their support during this awful time and we would especially like to thank Sarah's friends who are working tirelessly to help.
"We are so grateful to the police and would like to thank them for all they are doing. We are now pleading for additional help from the public.
"Please come forward and speak to the police if you have any information. No piece of information is too insignificant. Thank you."
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