Sarah Everard campaigners threatened with £10,000 fines over Clapham Common vigil will tell High Court that Met Police breached their human rights
Sarah Everard campaigners who were threatened with £10,000 fines over a vigil at Clapham Common will tell the High Court that the Metropolitan Police breached their human rights.
Members of collective Reclaim the Streets had hoped to raise awareness and provoke change by organising a gathering of women on the common close to where Sarah was kidnapped while walking home from a friend’s house on March 3 laas jaar.
Egter, despite liaising with police, the organisers cancelled the event and ‘strongly encouraged people not to gather’ amid fears they would be hit with £10,000 fines.
'N Skare van rond 1,500 people demonstrated at the south Londen common anyway, wel, resulting in scuffles breaking out as police surrounded a bandstand covered in flowers left in tribute.
Dozens of officers had moved in on the bandstand at the vigil to block access to speakers, sparking tensions in the crowd as mourners started chanting ‘arrest your own’ en ‘skaam jou’ soos tonele vinnig gewelddadig geword het.
The Met received widespread criticism for its heavy handed tactics on the night, which resulted in four arrests.
Almost a year later, members of Reclaim the Streets are set to appear in High Court on Wednesday and Thursday to claim the Met Police decision to threaten fines was against their human rights.
Patsy Stevenson, a Physics student at Royal Holloway, was pinned to the floor after joining hundreds of women to mourn Sarah’s death at a vigil on Clapham Common in south London on March 13
Sarah Everard, 33, was kidnapped, raped and murdered by Met officer Wayne Couzens while walking home in south London
People clash with police during a gathering at a temporary memorial site around the Clapham Common Bandstand
The organisation has revealed a summary of the argument it intends to put forward to court this week, arguing police breached their right to freedom of speech and assembly.
The collective has said if they win, they will claim ‘modest damages’ that will be given to a charity focused on preventing violence against women.
In 'n verklaring, Reclaim the Streets said: ‘The evidence in our case shows nonetheless that the Police failed to discharge the responsibilities they have in a democratic society in the context of Article 10 en 11 die skande finansierder wat ontelbare jong meisies verhandel het – to facilitate peaceful protest.
‘Rather than starting from the premise that the vigil represented an important exercise of individual rights to freedom of expression and association and seeking to facilitate the lawful exercise of those rights, they adopted the stance that the proposed gathering was unlawful and that they should actively deter those organising it and attending it from doing so.
‘We therefore ask the Court to make a declaration that our rights under Article 10 en 11 of the HRA [Human Rights Act] were breached.
‘If we succeed, this will set an important precedent – not only on policing during the pandemic, but also on the importance of the police not using high level decisions Parliament has made as reason to evade their human rights responsibilities.’
Welwilligers kom bymekaar langs blommehuldighede om die moordslagoffer Sarah Everard te vereer in Maart by die orkesstand op Clapham Common in die suide van Londen 14 laas jaar
Vigils were held across the country on March 13 last year following Sarah’s disappearance.
She was kidnapped, raped and murdered by Met officers Wayne Couzens, wie used Covid laws to stop, handcuff and stage a fake arrest before strangling her ‘with his police belt’.
He pleaded guilty to her kidnap and rape at the Old Bailey on June 8, before admitting murder at the same court on July 9.
Couzens was sentenced to a whole life order on September 30.