Anti-mask protestors clash with police in Piccadilly Gardens in anti-lockdown demonstration
- Anti-mask protest held in Piccadilly Gardens to demonstrate against lockdown
- Non-socially distanced protestors clash with police
- Dispersed by police after protestors become aggresive and threaten officers
Police dispersed anti-lockdown protesters in Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester on Sunday during a protest organised by Rise up Manchester.
The anti-lockdown protest started at 1pm in the centre of town and later the police stepped in to disperse the large crowd, most of whom were not socially distancing or wearing masks.
At the start of the protest there were only a few dozen officers visible, but when some protesters refused to disperse and got rowdy, being aggressive towards police as they walked through the crowd, officers started making arrests and reinforcements were called in.
Police vans blocked bus routes on roads around Piccadilly Gardens.
According to a statement posted on Twitter by the organisers of the event, by the time the police arrived in force the planned event had ended and the organisers had left.
I was on my way to Boots when I noticed the gathering, and asked a few onlookers what was happening.
Some told me that the people in the centre of the crowd with megaphones had told everyone attending the protest to take off their masks.
When I approached a protester on the sidelines, asking to take a photo of his sign, I was asked to take my mask, something I didn’t do.
During the clearing of the gardens, police lined up and walked forwards, directing the protesters and all onlookers down the pedestrian and tram road towards the Arndale shopping centre.