Statement from Reclaim These Streets in full

The statement was made after a successful High Court claim.

Pa
Friday 11 March 2022 11:33
People leave floral tributes at the band stand in Clapham Common, London, after the Reclaim These Streets vigil for Sarah Everard was officially cancelled (Steve Parsons/PA)
People leave floral tributes at the band stand in Clapham Common, London, after the Reclaim These Streets vigil for Sarah Everard was officially cancelled (Steve Parsons/PA)

Here is Reclaim These Street’s statement in full following their successful High Court claim:

“Today’s judgment is a victory for women.

“Last March, women’s voices were silenced.

“Today’s judgment conclusively shows that the police were wrong to silence us.

“The decisions and actions by the Met Police in the run-up to the planned vigil for Sarah Everard last year were unlawful and the judgment sets a powerful precedent for protest rights.

“We came together, one year and one day ago, to organise a vigil on Clapham Common because Sarah Everard went missing from our neighbourhood.

“We felt sad and afraid.

“We were angry that women still weren’t safe and we were tired of the burden to stay safe always weighing on our shoulders.

“We organised it because as women we needed a space to stand together in solidarity, grief and defiance.

“And above all we organised it because it’s wrong that women face violence and harassment every single day.

“We couldn’t have imagined the far-reaching implications of our decision to organise, and certainly never imagined we would be here in the High Court a year later – but we couldn’t stand by in the face of the Met Police’s determination to prevent women from exercising their human right to protest.

“We feel vindicated by today’s judgment.

Floral tributes to Sarah Everard (Yui Mok/PA)

“This case exposes the Metropolitan Police’s total disregard for women’s human rights to assembly and expression, it shows that the Met Police’s decision-making was flawed at every single step of the process.

“They got the law wrong last March, and the interim judgment from (Mr) Justice Holgate said as such.

“But rather than change their approach they dug in their heels, closed ranks and got the law wrong again, in the words of Lord Justice Warby, the MPS decisions and communications were “legally mistaken”, “simplistic”, “misinformed” and “misleading”.

“The implications of this judgment should reverberate widely.

“We hope that as parliament considers giving the police greater powers to curb protests, in the Police, Courts, Sentencing and Crime Bill, that this ruling reminds everyone the importance of upholding our human rights.

“We believe it sets an important precedent for future protests and the way they are policed.

“We hope that those who face greater barriers to accessing justice can benefit from the precedents that today’s ruling set on protest rights – because in pursuing this case we have learnt just how difficult and expensive it is to access justice and hold our institutions to account.

“We know we are lucky to have been able to take this case all the way to the High Court – a privilege not afforded to many.

“We thank our amazing legal team, and we are especially grateful to everyone who contributed to our legal fundraiser.

“And we hope that the police learn some important lessons.

“And if the police appeal this decision, we think it would further erode women’s trust in the force.

“Instead of wasting taxpayers’ money on an appeal, we hope that they will invest the funds in measures that tackle misogyny and keep women in London safe.”

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