Advertisement
Activism

Met Police acted unlawfully in trying to ban Sarah Everard vigil, court finds

A group of activists have won their court case against the Met, after they were threatened with fines for organising a vigil for Sarah Everard.

The Met Police were “legally mistaken” to tell a group of activists they could not organise a vigil for Sarah Everard, the High Court has ruled.

Reclaim these Streets withdrew from organising the vigil on Clapham Common after police told them they faced prosecution and individual fines of £10,000 if it went ahead.

A spontaneous vigil was held on Clapham Common on Saturday March 13 anyway, with police coming under severe criticism for heavy-handed tactics.

Subscribe to The Big Issue

From just £3 per week

Take a print or digital subscription to The Big Issue and provide a critical lifeline to our work.

The group took the Met to court over its decisions, and today Lord Justice Warby ruled the Met’s actions were “legally mistaken”, “simplistic”, “misinformed”, and “misleading”.

In a statement, Reclaim These Streets said: “We feel vindicated by today’s judgement. This case exposes the Metropolitan Police’s total disregard for women’s human rights to assembly and expression.”

They added: “Today’s judgement conclusively shows that the police were wrong to silence us.”

Advertisement
Advertisement

The four claimants – co-founders of Reclaim These Streets – argued that their human rights to assembly and freedom of speech had been breached by the Met’s refusal to allow the vigil.

In the days before the planned vigil, the Met had told the organisers it would likely breach the Covid-19 restrictions in place at the time, and that action may be taken.

The court found that the Met’s actions had a “chilling effect” on the protest, and that the service had “failed to perform its legal duty to consider whether the claimants might have a reasonable excuse for holding the gathering.”

No damages were awarded by the court, which also said the Met failed to “engage properly with the claimants on measures which would have enabled a vigil to go ahead in some appropriate form.”

Protest group Sisters Uncut will be protesting outside New Scotland Yard on Saturday 12 March, to mark one year since the original vigil and to withdraw their consent from British policing.

Advertisement

Bigger Issues need bigger solutions

Big Issue Group is creating new solutions through enterprise to unlock opportunities for the 14.5 million people living in poverty to earn, learn and thrive. Big Issue Group brings together our media and investment initiatives as well as a diverse and pioneering range of new solutions, all of which aim to dismantle poverty by creating opportunity. Learn how you can change lives today.

Recommended for you

Read All
‘I do not know how I’m going to survive’: Campaigners head to Number 10 to demand help in mini-budget
Cost of living crisis

‘I do not know how I’m going to survive’: Campaigners head to Number 10 to demand help in mini-budget

These are the charities that collect furniture from your home to help those in need
Activism

These are the charities that collect furniture from your home to help those in need

Chris Kaba: Nationwide protests to take place as family demand action
Chris Kaba

Chris Kaba: Nationwide protests to take place as family demand action

These walking tours with a twist let homeless people show you their city
Cities

These walking tours with a twist let homeless people show you their city

Most Popular

Read All
How much will the Queen's funeral cost?
1.

How much will the Queen's funeral cost?

The internet's best reactions as Kwasi Kwarteng cuts taxes and lifts the cap on bankers' bonuses
2.

The internet's best reactions as Kwasi Kwarteng cuts taxes and lifts the cap on bankers' bonuses

From benefit claimants to bankers: Here’s what the mini-budget means for your pay packet
3.

From benefit claimants to bankers: Here’s what the mini-budget means for your pay packet

5 ways anti-homeless architecture is used to exclude people from public spaces
4.

5 ways anti-homeless architecture is used to exclude people from public spaces

To mark our new Arctic Monkeys exclusive interview, we’ve picked out some of our best band and musician interviews from the past, featuring Arctic Monkeys (2018), When Jarvis met Bowie, The Specials, Debbie Harry and more. Sign up to our mailing list to receive your free digital copy.