People who wanted to attend vigils in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard are being encouraged to take part in planned online and doorstep events instead.
Vigils had been organised across the UK in memory of the 33-year-old, who went missing in London earlier this month, as well as to urge that more is done to tackle violence against women.
Organisers Reclaim These Streets announced on Saturday that a vigil planned for Saturday in Clapham, south London, near to where Ms Everard disappeared had been cancelled and said a “virtual gathering” will take place instead.
In Inverness, placards have been placed on the city’s Ness Bridge in support of the awareness campaign.
An earlier planned event for Falcon Square has been cancelled with contributors urged to instead put artwork on display.
Numerous handmade items have been fastened to the famed crossing, as solidarity extends beyond the English capital.
Discourse must change
Inverness woman Lesley Bremner, who visited Ness Bridge earlier, said: “I’m grateful to Penny for arranging the event and pleased we were able to find a Covid-safe solution that allows us to express how we feel about the abduction and murder of Sarah Everard and our lived experiences as women.
“Much of the discourse around Sarah’s murder has centred around the steps women and girls take to keep themselves safe every day.
“We have got to stop blaming the victim and start having frank and difficult discussions about who perpetrates violent crime in our society.”
Go and add a tribute, your story (if you want to – I’m not), your posters, your artwork. Peaceful and Covid-safe way to show solidarity with the victims of male violence. pic.twitter.com/YaZovNCxtY
— fadinfinitum (@fadinfinitum) March 13, 2021
Fundraiser reaches more than half of target
Meanwhile, a fundraiser set up by the group for women’s charitable causes has already generated more than half its £320,000 target.
On Friday, a High Court judge refused to intervene on behalf of Reclaim These Streets in a legal challenge over the right to gather for a protest during coronavirus restrictions.
On Saturday, the group said that despite their attempts to work with police to ensure the Clapham vigil could proceed safely, they now felt it could not go ahead.
Organisers said they had made “many suggestions” to police, including splitting the event into different time slots – but that they were told going ahead with a vigil could risk a £10,000 fine each for each woman organising.
In a statement on the group said: “We have been very disappointed that given the many opportunities to engage with organisers constructively, the Metropolitan Police have been unwilling to commit to anything.
“While we have had positive discussions with the Lambeth officers present, those from Scotland Yard would not engage with our suggestions to help ensure that a legal, Covid-secure vigil could take place.”
A number of police forces across the country have also issued statements urging people not to attend the in-person events, instead encouraging people to move online.
Reclaim These Streets has encouraged people to join a doorstep vigil at 9.30pm, with the group saying it would be joining people across the country and “shining a light, a candle, a torch, a phone, to remember Sarah Everard and all the women affected by and lost to violence”.
They added: “We aren’t just lighting a candle for the women we’ve lost: we have been inspired by the women who have reached out and hope this is just the start of a movement that will light a fire for change.”