Thursday, April 15, 2021
HomeLive StreamGovernment urged to clarify law after vigil for Sarah Everard was cancelled

Government urged to clarify law after vigil for Sarah Everard was cancelled

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The Government has been urged to clarify the law on protests during the coronavirus pandemic after a vigil for Sarah Everard in south London was cancelled.

Labour’s Harriet Harman who chairs the Joint Committee on Human Rights, led the calls after Reclaim These Streets said they felt the event could not go ahead despite attempts to work with the police to ensure it could proceed safely.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We have said previously that the law on this should be made clearer.

“The relationship between the Human Rights Act and its protection of freedom of association and the new Covid regulations has not been clearly spelt out.

“The police’s response to do a blanket ban, to say we can treat everybody equally by stopping all freedom of associations, is not the right way to go about it.”

Her comments came as some MPs criticised the decision to “shut down” the planned vigil for Ms Everard in Clapham on Saturday evening.

Labour MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy, who represents Streatham in south-east London, tweeted: “The police decision to shut down tonight’s vigil & refuse to constructively engage with @ReclaimTS is deeply wrong.

“Women should not face arrest for showing solidarity.

“On Monday, the Govt will put down a Bill to further restrict the right to protest.”

Liberal Democrats deputy leader Daisy Cooper tweeted: “It is the Govt’s responsibility to ensure people can protest safely.

“Women around the UK wanted to stand in silence, 2m apart, w/masks.

“They’ve been threatened with whopping £10k fines.

“On Mon, Govt will introduce new laws to curb protests further. Really?”

She posted a picture from last year’s Black Lives Matter protests in her constituency of St Albans, where hundreds of people were “socially distanced, in masks, policed proportionately”.

“Last night, a group of 30 young women who wanted to #ReclaimTheStreets in #StAlbans, 2m apart, in masks, were told they would face £10k fines,” Ms Cooper wrote.

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