Reclaim These Streets: Edinburgh vigils move online amid coronavirus concerns

Candlelight vigils organised to take place in Edinburgh on Saturday evening are being moved online following coronavirus fears.

Friday, 12th March 2021, 8:13 pm
Reclaim These Streets: Edinburgh vigils move online amid coronavirus concerns picture: supplied

In the wake of 33-year-old Sarah Everard’s murder, two vigils were organised to take place at 6pm to highlight the challenges women face every day to stay safe.

These vigils will now be held online over fears that the large gathering could cause a spike in coronavirus cases.

Organiser, 20-year-old Chloe Whyte from Edinburgh, told the Evening News: “Unfortunately it’s been really tough, we haven’t been able to get a live streamer secured, so instead we’re going to have all speakers pre-record their speeches and then we’ll stitch them together into a broadcast and we’ll begin that broadcast at 6pm on Saturday on the Facebook event, alongside all of our at-home vigil activities.”

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The original plans involved one vigil taking place at Holyrood which would would have featured speeches, stories and poems from survivors of sexual assault, while a separate silent gathering was to take place at St Andrew Square at the same time.

Organisers are still exploring the possibility of one or two speakers going to Holyrood which could be filmed but say that absolutely no attendees should go.

Ms Whyte continued: “We urge everyone not to gather at Holyrood, we’ll have an organiser there to disperse anyone that does show up because I think that some people still might just try to go anyway.”

In an official statement organisers said: “Following the decision of the High Court in London and comments from the Scottish Cabinet Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman MSP, the organisers of the #ReclaimTheseStreets Edinburgh vigils have decided to build upon events currently being hosted online and cancel our in-person gatherings.

"The tragic story of Sarah Everard and the national outpouring it has provoked has shone a light on how just how many people have been made to feel unsafe on our streets due to sexual harassment and violence.

"This is a moment of reflection but also one of action.”

Before it was confirmed that the vigils would take place online, Assistant Chief Constable Alan Speirs warned that they should find an “alternative way to show support”.

He urged people to follow coronavirus regulations and stay at home.

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