Sarah Everard: West Midlands vigils cancelled after police step in

Vigils planned for Birmingham and Coventry tonight following the death of Sarah Everard have been cancelled following the intervention of police.

Sarah Everard
Sarah Everard

Several gatherings to remember Ms Everard and raise awareness of women's safety had been organised across the country but police have stepped in due to concerns over the spread of Covid.

Chiefs said they had reached out to organisers to explain the vigils would be breaking lockdown rules and that they hoped they understood the force's "difficult position" on the issue.

Events had been planned for Victoria Square, Birmingham, and Broadgate in Coventry.

West Midlands Police said in a statement: "We’ve worked closely with the event organisers and both have now decided to cancel these events.

"We understand the strength of feeling and people’s desire to come together to mourn and show respect to Sarah Everard as well as to make a statement and organise on the issue of women’s safety.

"In normal circumstances we would be more than happy to facilitate such events to raise awareness for a hugely important issue.

"We understand how disappointing it is for those hoping to express their strength of feeling, and we are grateful that the event organisers have decided to consider alternative ways to mark the tragic death of Sarah and raise awareness.

"We understand there are a number of online events as well as a doorstep vigil that have been arranged for 6pm tonight and we absolutely support these and encourage our communities to join them. They allow people to stand together over this important matter in a Covid-safe way.

"We’d ask that anyone who is considering still turning up later, or arranging their own event, remembers that current Covid-19 regulations do not permit large gatherings because of the very real risks of the spread of the virus.

"We hope people understand what is a very difficult position and continue to adhere to the public health regulations."

It comes as the man accused of murdering Ms Everard, Met Police officer Wayne Couzens, appeared in court this morning.

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