Sarah Everard: Edinburgh woman organises #ReclaimTheseStreets vigil as anger mounts over safety fears
A woman has arranged for a vigil to take place in the Capital this weekend to highlight the challenges women face every day to stay safe in the wake of Sarah Everard’s disappearance.
As investigators announced that a serving male police officer had been arrested on suspicion of murder in connection with missing 33-year-old Ms Everard, from London, women across the country have united over organising a nationwide vigil on Saturday called #ReclaimTheseStreets.
Chloe Whyte, from Edinburgh, is heading the event for the Capital with a small group of women she met on Facebook community groups.
The 20-year-old has arranged for one vigil to take place at Holyrood at 6pm on Saturday which will involve speeches, stories and poems from survivors of sexual harassment, and a separate silent gathering to take place at St Andrew Square at the same time.
Speaking to Edinburgh Evening News she said: “I thought we could just stick to social media for the vigil, but it’s not enough.
"We will remain small in numbers, safe and cautious, but we will stand on Holyrood’s steps to make sure that politicians feel and see our presence and know that more needs to be done to protect women on the streets.”
Chloe said the response to the event so far has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Not everyone will be joining in-person because of the current circumstances,” she added.
"But we also have a set up where people can campaign from their doorstep doing what we call a thunderclap – this is when we encourage anyone who is joining us to post a message on social media at the same time, to make sure it’s trending. So for the #ReclaimTheseStreets vigil the messages will need to go out at 6pm.”
Chloe said the social media posts for those attending the vigil virtually can range from anything between personal stories to the chilling statistics about sexual harassment and violence against women.
"I am a survivor from attacks in Edinburgh that happened about two years ago,” she said.
"I haven’t seen much change to be honest, so let’s hope we are heard.”
The vigils, at both Holyrood and St Andrew Square, are expected to last about 30 minutes.