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Call to ‘do more to tackle violence against women’ as Sarah Everard honoured

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Campaigners have called for more to be done to tackle violence against women as an online vigil was held in memory of Sarah Everard

A minute’s silence was held and candles were lit during the virtual event, after planned vigils across the UK were cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions.

Despite the cancellation of an event in Clapham, south London, near to where Ms Everard disappeared, hundreds of people still gathered on Clapham Common at around 6pm on Saturday.

Opening the online event, hosted by Feminists of London, television presenter Sandi Toksvig said Ms Everard’s death should be a “turning point”.

“Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. Never have I felt more passionately concerned about my kids,” she said.

“It surely cannot be asking too much to want them simply to be free, to walk where they like, when they like.

“I am filled in equal measure with profound sorrow and rage, and I know there are many who share this rage and I think it is entirely justifiable. But I also know that it will harm rather than help us if we don’t try and direct that anger to good purpose.”

She added that it was not a “small change” that was needed, but a “cultural shift about how women are viewed and treated both in the public and private space”.

“This has to be a turning point where ending violence finally becomes a political priority,” she said.

POLICE Everard Timeline / PA Graphics

Reclaim These Streets, which had planned to hold the Clapham vigil before it was cancelled, also urged people to take part in a doorstep vigil at 9.30pm on Saturday, 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.”

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