After receiving reports that about 40 people were in attendance at a demonstration in St Peter’s Square at around noon yesterday, police arrived at the scene to find that the demonstrators had gathered “in contravention of current lockdown legislation” as all public gatherings are banned under coronavirus (COVID-19) rules.
Greater Manchester Police said that most demonstrators dispersed after officers asked them to leave.
In a statement issued yesterday afternoon, GMP confirmed that the organiser of the protest – a 61-year-old NHS mental health worker and UNISON rep, who has now been named as Hulme resident, Karen Reissmann – had been issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) of the maximum £10,000.
Ms Reissmann insisted that the demonstration was “socially-distanced and risk assessed”.
A number of cones laid out to ensure a two-metres distance between all participants, and each demonstrator in attendance wore a face covering, however Greater Manchester Police officers soon told Karen that the gathering was illegal and the event could not go ahead.
Speaking on a microphone at the demonstration – which is believed to have lasted around 10 minutes – Karen told those assembled that she disagreed with the decision, but had no choice but to comply.
Karen told the MEN following the incident that she was “really shocked’ by the decision to give her a £10,000 fine and that she will be be contesting it.
“I’m contesting it partly because I think it’s unfair,” said Karen.
“I’ve had lots of offers of legal advice and I will speak to our Union reps and look at my options.”
But today, Assistant Chief Constable Nick Bailey stood by the decision and said that while all fines are subject to a review once submitted, he believes the £10,000 fine “appears to be appropriate in the circumstances”, adding: “The current lockdown situation is really difficult for everyone and we do understand how much of an impact the restrictions have on people’s ability to undertake any activity other than exercise.
“Since the current national restrictions were introduced this year, as with the second lockdown last year, protests are now no longer exempt as a reason to gather and are therefore unlawful, which is different to the position for much of last year, when a number of protests did occur in Greater Manchester.
“We try to balance our interventions and will always engage with the participants and organisers of a protest using the three Es of engagement, explaining and encouraging, before taking any enforcement activity.
“Our primary aim has always been to seek out and engage with the organisers to protest in an alternative and lawful manner, thereby negating the need for police action.
“Throughout the whole pandemic Greater Manchester Police has worked with colleagues in the NHS and across Greater Manchester to support the efforts to stop the spread of COVID, protect our communities and our health service.
A GoFundMe fundraiser launched by supporters to fund Ms Reissmann’s £10,000 fine has now raised over £14,500 and counting.
Rudy’s is opening a new pizzeria and pizza school in the former Dawson’s Music site
A year on from the initial news that Rudy’s would be taking over the old Dawson’s Music site on Portland Street, bosses behind the chain of neighbourhood pizzerias have finally hinted towards the new site’s opening date.
Revealing it is set to open in Manchester city centre this spring, they also shared the news that the new 8,000sqft location will be home, not just to another restaurant, but also to Rudy’s very own pizza school.
Billed as a ‘world-class destination for pizzaiolo talent’, the new pizza academy will take just over half the space – providing a structured training programme to both experienced pizza chefs and novices. It is set to welcome over 100 pizza chefs in this first year.
The restaurant, meanwhile, will span the rest with room for 120 covers. It will be Rudy’s sixth pizza restaurant in Manchester.
The new location at Portland Street will also be the HQ for Rudy’s Bake at Home, back by popular demand.
Serving the perfect and classic Neapolitan pizza since 2015 from its original Rudy’s in Ancoats, the acclaimed pizzeria has since opened 16 sites across the UK, with the new 120-cover pizzeria in Portland Street being its sixth location in Manchester.
Born out of passion for pizza, Rudy’s follows the authentic Neapolitan tradition of pizza making, serving classic recipes such as Marinara, Margherita and Calabrese – all originating from Naples, the birthplace of pizza.
Rudy’s has been praised by many as one of the best pizzerias in the UK, it is renowned for its consistency and quality in Neapolitan pizza making. On a mission to pave the way in pizza making all accordance to a truly authentic Neapolitan technique, Rudy’s is proud to open Rudy’s Pizza Academy at the new Portland Street location.
Jos Goncalves, manager at Rudy’s Portland Street, said: “We are delighted to announce that our next Rudy’s pizzeria will be located on Manchester’s bustling Portland Street.
Manchester has been home to the Rudy’s famiglia since we first opened in Ancoats in 2015, and we can’t wait to open our latest pizzeria, with the addition of our first Pizza Academy in the city this spring”.
Featured image – Rudy’s
Watch as Ed Sheeran debuts new music for the first time ever at ‘intimate’ Manchester gig
Now normally, when an artist chooses to take some brand new material out on tour for the first time, they’ll test the waters with a few intimate shows.
Just recently, we’ve had both Fall Out Boy and Blossoms at Band on the Wall, The 1975 at Gorilla, and Jason Manford in a beer garden.
But for Ed Sheeran, his idea of ‘intimate’ is… the AO Arena. That super cosy 21,000-capacity venue. Ah.
After selling out FOUR nights at the Etihad Stadium last summer, though, the chance to see Ed on stage in an arena again is a novel one, and it sold out the venue in minutes.
The ‘Shape of You’ singer announced this surprise arena tour just weeks before he took to the stage, in support of his upcoming sixth album Subtract.
This mini tour kicked off in Manchester last night – meaning our city got to hear new track ‘Eyes Closed’ live for the first time ever.
You can watch the highlights from Ed Sheeran at the AO Arena in the video below