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Talks continue over Sarah Everard vigil in London following High Court ruling

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Reclaim These Streets is planning to host the event in south London on Saturday near to where the 33-year-old, whose body was formally identified on Friday, went missing.

The group brought urgent legal action at the High Court on Friday in a bid for a declaration that any ban on outdoor gatherings under coronavirus regulations is “subject to the right to protest”.

Mr Justice Holgate declined to grant the group’s request and also refused to make a declaration that an alleged policy by the force of “prohibiting all protests, irrespective of the specific circumstances” is unlawful.

Sarah Everard missing / PA Wire

The judge left it open for talks between the organisers and police to continue over the “application of the regulations and the (rights to freedom of expression and assembly)” to the event, but said it would “not be appropriate” for the court to make the declaration sought.

In a statement after the ruling, Reclaim These Streets said: “We are working with (Lambeth) Council, who remain wholly supportive.

“We call on the police to act within the law now and confirm that they will work with us to ensure that the protest can go ahead within the context of the overwhelming public response to Sarah Everard’s death.”

In a tweet, they added: “We are now in discussions with the Met to confirm how the event can proceed in a way that is proportionate and safe – our number one priority.”

However, a statement from the Met urged people to “stay at home or find a lawful and safer way to express your views”.

Commander Catherine Roper, the force’s lead for community engagement, said: “I understand this ruling will be a disappointment to those hoping to express their strength of feeling, but I ask women and allies across London to find a safe alternative way to express their views.

Sarah Everard death / PA Wire

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