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Reclaim These Streets

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Jamie Klingler, Henna Shah, Anna Birley and Jessica Leigh of Reclaim These Streets celebrate winning against the Metropolitan Police in the High Courts. Photo by Callum Baker.

We use legislation, community action and education to ensure that no woman needs to be asked to “text me when you get home” again.

The Campaign

When Sarah Everard was murdered, Reclaim These Streets (RTS) was formed to hold a vigil for Sarah and all women affected by male violence.

The Metropolitan Police told organisers it would be illegal under Covid restrictions and that they would be liable to be issued with a fixed penalty notice if the vigil went ahead. Even when a judge ruled it could go ahead with certain parameters, the Met still issued a press release stating that the vigil would be illegal.

RTS was forced to cancel official vigils after multiple threats of prosecution and substantial fines for the organisers.

Jessica Leigh, Anna Birley, Henna Shah and Jamie Klingler of Reclaim These Streets took legal action against the Metropolitan Police, claiming that their human rights to freedom of speech and assembly had been breached during their attempt to organise a vigil on Clapham Common, London, for Sarah Everard.

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awards

Ludo Orlando of Reclaim These Streets at Vigil for Bibaa and Nicole with Dawn Butler MP and Sadiq Khan. August 3rd. 2021

Reclaim These Streets has changed the tone and context of the national conversation about women’s safety.  Conversations that women used to have in the middle of the night only with other women about the climate of fear we exist in, are now happening at dining room tables and with the men in our lives.”

awards

Ludo Orlando of Reclaim These Streets at Vigil for Bibaa and Nicole with be Dawn Butler MP and Sadiq Khan. August 3rd. 2021

Reclaim These Streets has changed the tone and context of the national conversation about women’s safety.  Conversations that women used to have in the middle of the night only with other women about the climate of fear we exist in, are now happening at dining room tables and with the men in our lives.”

The Change

Sarah Everard vigil organisers were vindicated by a landmark High Court ruling against the Metropolitan Police Force; this ruling found the police were wrong to silence women.

RTS had attempted to organise a vigil and informed the police, who threatened prosecution. They sought a judicial review of the Metropolitan Police’s decision-making.

The case was heard in January 2022 and a judgment delivered on 11 March 2022, which said that the Met’s decisions in the run-up to the event were “not in accordance with the law”.

The High Court found it had repeatedly violated the four organisers’ human rights to freedom of speech and freedom to assemble, by preventing them from organising the vigil. The Met were found to have ignored their duty to inform themselves of the considerations relevant to decision-making, their ‘Tameside duty’. 

The Met said it would appeal the judgment. The High Court and then the Court of Appeal subsequently refused permission to appeal.

The Future

Reclaim These Streets testified to the Casey Review and continues to support and amplify women’s voices and campaign for women’s safety.  The Rosa Fund has now established an annual Stand With Us Fund that was launched with RTS.