Police arrested 18 protestors involved in a ‘Kill the Bill’ demonstration in Manchester over the weekend – with officers lifting several demonstrators off the tram tracks.
Over 150 people gathered at St Peter’s Square on Saturday (27 March) and sat down on the Metrolink lines; causing “significant disruption to transport networks”.
Greater Manchester Police said that whilst the demonstration was “largely peaceful” and most of the crowd left by 4pm, officers were forced to physically remove those who had ignored “repeated prior warnings” to move from the area.
Chief Superintendent Andy Sidebotham said: “We have been working closely with partners and engaging with those present at the protest all afternoon to avoid any risk or disruption to the wider public in the city centre and [the] event was largely peaceful and without issue.
“However, as the day went on the remaining group caused significant disruption to the public of Greater Manchester.
“I understand the desire to peacefully protest but by blocking trams this smaller group prevented passengers from travelling to work for essential journeys, including health and care workers.
“This was clearly unacceptable and, in our duty to serve the public, we could not allow [it] to be tolerated any longer.”
Kill the Bill protests have taken place nationwide in March – expressing anger at legislation that would give police more power in preventing and dispersing demonstrations.
In Bristol on Friday (March 26), protests turned violent – with fireworks, bricks and bottles launched at officers.
One journalist has claimed he was assaulted by officers whilst they were clearing the demonstration.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the scenes “disgraceful” and said the police had his “full support.”
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