May 13, 2021

Man Utd

News

United protest violence condemned as officer is slashed in face

5 min read

Manchester United fans who resorted to violence against police at protests which saw the Old Trafford club’s clash with Liverpool postponed have been slammed.

Two officers were injured, including one who was attacked with a bottle and required emergency hospital treatment for a ‘significant’ slash wound to his face.

The Greater Manchester Police Federation – the body which represents rank and file officers – has demanded those responsible are brought justice. It has also called for a review of the policing operation.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham condemned the violence and urged fans to ‘keep the focus on the behaviour of those at the top of the game’.

Several hundred fans gathered at The Lowry hotel where United players were staying yesterday (Sunday), with thousands at Old Trafford as part of protests against the Glazer family’s ownership and running of the club.



Scuffles break out as police try to move people away from the Old Trafford during the protest

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said demonstrators outside the ground became ‘especially aggressive and antagonistic towards police’ before a group of around 100 forced entry to the stadium.

Flares were let off and missiles were launched at officers including bottles and metal barriers, they added.

Officers had to be drafted in from neighbouring forces as part of the response before the match, due to kick-off at 4.30pm, was eventually called off for ‘safety reasons’.

A picture later emerged showing the extent of the injury the officer suffered to his face after being slashed.

Mr Burnham said he understood fans’ concerns, but said there was ‘no excuse’ for the ‘minority’ who resorted to violence as he backed the decision to postpone the match.

In a statement last night, he said: “I fully understand the long-standing concerns of Manchester United supporters about both the ownership and financing of their club and the wider running of football.



GMP described the actions of those who attacked police as “reckless and dangerous”

These concerns have been building for a long time and it is essential that those running the club and the game listen to them.

“It is important to make clear that the majority of supporters made their protest peacefully today.

“However, there is no excuse for the actions of a minority who injured police officers and endangered the safety of others.

“I send my best wishes to the police officers who have been hurt in the course of their duties this afternoon.

Sign up to the free MEN email newsletter



Get the latest updates from across Greater Manchester direct to your inbox with the free MEN newsletter

You can sign up very simply by following the instructions here

“This could be an important moment to change football for the better.

“We should all condemn violence of any kind and keep the focus on the behaviour of those at the top of the game.”

Stu Berry, chairman of Greater Manchester Police Federation, said: “We witnessed appalling scenes this afternoon – police officers are not punchbags for people protesting for their cause.

“I don’t think there’s a football fan out there who doesn’t support peaceful protest in favour of our national game.


Video Loading

“However, the minority who have soured those efforts with mindless violence against our colleagues must be identified and prosecuted for their actions today.

“Our thoughts are with our injured officers this evening and we hope the media can give our members the recognition they deserve.

“At the end of their shifts, hard-working police officers should be able to go home to their families in one piece. Not be rushed to hospital” he added.

“We will be seeking a review of today’s operational risk assessment and public order resources on behalf of our members.”



The game was eventually called-off for safey reasons following the protests

Following the protest , Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson said: “The behaviour displayed today by those at both Old Trafford and The Lowry Hotel was reckless and dangerous” as he confirmed an investigation into what happened was now underway.

“We understand the passion many supporters have for their team and we fully respect the right for peaceful protest,” he said.

“Plans were in place to ensure this could happen safely, but it soon became clear that many present had no intention of doing so peacefully.

“The actions of those today required us to take officers from front line policing and call in support from neighbouring forces to prevent the disorder getting worse.

“At different points, bottles and barriers were thrown, officers assaulted and people scaled the stadium structure creating risk for themselves and officers

“We have launched an investigation and we will be working closely alongside partners to ensure we establish the full circumstances surrounding today’s events and prosecute those responsible.”

Meanwhile, police and some protesters clashed by the entrance by the Munich tunnel at the stadium, where a group of fans gained — and succeeded — in gaining access to the ground, demonstrating on the pitch itself.


Video Loading

Police and security then quickly moved supporters back and cleared the area around the stadium, although the decision was then taken to postpone the Liverpool match amid safety concerns.

But it was outside the team hotel where this alleged incident between a fan and police officer took place.

In exclusive footage taken from outside, the officers are heard telling a young male to “stop resisting” as they attempt to make an arrest, dragging him behind a police van.

It then appears one officer punches the man on multiple occasions in his mid section.

The footage is filmed by bystanders. The officer can be heard shouting “get back now” to the civilians nearby.



The person filming the incident replies: “No need to touch me. I’m getting back.”

The police officer then shouts: “Do as I say”, to which the man filming responds: “I am doing as you say, no need to touch me.”

Prior to the arrest a small number of fans appeared to stop a lorry in the middle of the street and the footage then shows them remonstrating with the driver, who had climbed out of the vehicle.

One eyewitness told the Mirror: “There was quite a heavy police presence. They pushed the protesters back onto the main road to stop them coming down to the Lowry Hotel where the players were.

“It all went well up until the point the fans found out the game was off, which then it started to turn ugly towards the police, started throwing bottles, lighting smoke grenades.

“They were blocking cars, smashing into cars, kicking cars and then the truck turned up where it all started. They were blocking it. The driver got out, tried to confront them.”

Copyright © All rights reserved. | Newsphere by AF themes.