Reclaim These Streets Norwich event moved online amid Covid restrictions

sarah everard

Sarah Everard, who disappeared in Clapham on March 3. - Credit: Metropolitan Police

A planned demonstration to be held in Norwich to highlight women's safety issues has been moved online after it became clear police would not permit the event to happen.

Reclaim These Streets Norwich was initially planned to be held at 5pm outside City Hall as part of a national movement sparked by the tragic death of Sarah Everard in London.

However, after organisers of a sister event in Clapham Common lost a legal bid to host a vigil for the 33-year-old, the Norwich event was moved onto Zoom.

A spokesman for Norfolk Constabulary said: "We understand the strength of feeling and people's desire to come together to mourn the death of Sarah Everard and make a statement on the issues of women's safety.

"However, large gatherings are not currently permitted under the Covid-19 regulations to prevent the spread of the virus.

"Many people have made sacrifices during lockdown and we must take a consistent approach to policing the regulations and cannot wave the regulations for any one type of gathering.

"We will continue to follow the four E's to engage, explain and encourage, using enforcement where there are breaches of the law."

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A Facebook page dedicated to an event in Norwich was set up yesterday, but now will be hosted on Zoom.

Participants will be able to log on to a Zoom meeting at 6pm and pay their respects to Miss Everard by lighting a candle.

It is the same fate as a demonstration which was set to be held in south London, close to where Miss Everard went missing.

The organisers of the event mounted a legal challenge after it became clear they would face fines of £10,000 each if the vigil was held.

On Friday, a High Court judge refused to intervene on behalf of the group in its legal challenge over the right to gather for a protest during coronavirus restrictions.

The organisers said: "In light of the lack of constructive engagement from the Metropolitan Police, we do not feel that we can in good faith allow the event to go ahead."

It comes as Norfolk women have stepped forward to describe their own experiences of harassment and feeling unsafe walking at night, with the tragic incident shining a light on the issue this week.