A formal statement by Greater Manchester Police has been released this morning following the large-scale anti-lockdown demonstrations that took place in Manchester city centre last weekend.
Assistant Chief Constable Nick Bailey and Bev Hughes – Deputy Mayor for Policing, Crime and Criminal Justice – have issued a plea urging the public to consider the impact that meeting in large gatherings has on communities and the health service, and have appealed to anyone who may be considering organising or attending illegal mass gatherings and protests to “reconsider”.
It comes ahead of the second weekend in national lockdown and follows last weekend’s joint anti-lockdown, anti-mask, anti-vaccine and anti-establishment demonstrations in Piccadilly Gardens.
Under national lockdown restrictions currently in place across England, only two people from different households are permitted to meet outside in public.
In the statement published via the Greater Manchester Police Website this morning, ACC Nick Bailey said: “Following the events over the weekend which saw more than 600 people gather at Piccadilly Gardens, I want to appeal to anyone who may be considering organising or attending illegal mass gatherings and protests to reconsider, and to think about the impact these events are having on our communities, on our health service and the ability of police to keep the public safe.
“We are all familiar with the risks the coronavirus presents, and the gatherings we have seen to protest are against COVID legislation, and risk spreading the virus and prolonging the restrictions placed on our region.
“Since Thursday 5 November, the legislation has changed, and protests are no longer exempt from these restrictions. This now means that whilst we are in lockdown, any gatherings of more than two people outside who don’t live together are illegal, and police are obligated to disperse these gatherings.
“Whilst we will continue to engage with individuals, explain restrictions and encourage compliance before enforcing, people must take responsibility for their actions, and where gatherings or protests take place we are obliged to take action through dispersal and the imposing of fines to attendees and organisers.”
He continued: “Greater Manchester Police has a long history of facilitating safe protest and respecting people’s rights to protest, but we are currently in a very different position, and whilst Greater Manchester suffers through the pandemic our top priority is to keep the public safe.
“Therefore we simply cannot sit back and allow these gatherings to take place.
“We all want to come out of the health crisis with a clear conscience knowing we did everything we could to stop the spread of the virus.
“So I am today asking the public to do their bit during the lockdown, allow us to use our resources where it is most needed, and reduce the demand on our health service by staying away from protests and other large gatherings.”
Bev Hughes added: “We must continue to abide by the regulations because we know that if we stick to them we will see a reduction, and at a faster pace.”
For the latest information, guidance and support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the UK, please do refer to official sources at gov.uk/coronavirus.
Ancoats restaurant publicly exposes ‘angry influencer’ after spat over free meal
A restaurant in Ancoats has publicly exposed an influencer (twice…) who tried to ask for a free meal in exchange for exposure.
Lucky Ramen, a tiny spot on Blossom Street that has had queues forming for its noodle soups and Asian brunches, has become embroiled in a spat with an unnamed social media star.
It all started yesterday when the restaurant went public with a message it had received, which was requesting a complimentary brunch in exchange for a post on Instagram.
Lucky Ramen shared the message and wrote that they were ‘thrilled you appreciate our food’ but that the team ‘appreciate paying customers even more’.
They described it as ‘another thrilling DM from a blue tick superstar asking for a free feast in exchange for an Insta post’.
Which was already dramatic enough, but the influencer in question has been quite cross that Lucky Ramen in Ancoats has taken a swipe at them publicly.
It appears they’ve followed up with a much less polite message, saying the independent business is ‘bang out of order’ for trying to expose them.
The influencer asked: “So you think people like us don’t deserve to eat for FREE???”
They argued that they were trying to promote the restaurant for free, offering ‘time, labour, effort and positive energy’ in exchange for the free meal as compensation.
The unnamed user then said: “Your arrogance makes me sick. Haha very funny, you got a couple of giggles but we’re the ones that are laughing.
“We go where we want, eat what we want and lastly – it’s all for free! WHOS LAUGHING NOW???”
Of course, Lucky Ramen hasn’t left that message in the DMs either, once again sharing screenshots on its Instagram page.
And they’ve chosen to smack the influencer with pure sarcasm in retaliation…
They wrote: “Dear angry influencer. Okay, aaalright… you got us! We’re truly sorry for attempting to uncover your behind-the-scenes tactics yesterday and, you know, us trying to make a living and sh*t.
“But hold on, the new message we just got deserves more than a standing ovation!
“This follow-up DM is a total game-changer, and guess what? We’re now rolling out the red carpet for all the free meals you desire. And that’s not all – our chefs are ready to part ways with their Crocs and Birkenstocks, throwing them in as an extra bonus for your tender love and labour! Even my dad’s medal of honour from the Japan war is up for grabs – he’s feeling generous the old geezer, and he’s even contemplating wheeling in his new eco-friendly hybrid wheelchair for you!
“Just hit us up with another DM, let us know when you’re swinging by to collect your well-deserved goodies, and don’t forget to leave a glowing 5-star review on both Google and TripAdvisor.
“We appreciate your understanding and, once again, sorry for the “inconvenience” we caused.
“Bon appétit + Arigato-the-f*ck-outta-here.”
Will the influencer reply again? Someone pass the popcorn.
‘Dangerous’ disqualified driver jailed after crashing into funfair in Wigan
A “dangerous” disqualified driver has been handed jail time after crashing into a funfair in Wigan last year.
Jordan O’Reilly, from Platt Bridge in Wigan, has been sentenced after pleading guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, driving without insurance, perverting the course of justice, and failing to provide a specimen.
The 21-year-old was given three years behind bars following a trial at Bolton Crown Court yesterday (29 February).
O’Reilly’s sentencing comes after he crashed his vehicle into a funfair in Wigan while trying to evade a police pursuit back in October 2023.
#JAILED I A disqualified driver who led police on a chase and crashed into a crowded funfair in #Wigan has been jailed for 3 years
After failing to stop for a Greater Manchester Police (GMP) patrol, O’Reilly then drove in excess of the speed limit and overtook a number of vehicles, all before proceeding to abandon his own moving vehicle to escape.
The vehicle O’Reilly abandoned then carried on moving, and shockingly, ended up colliding with two members of the public at the funfair – with one woman sadly left with “serious injuries” as a result.
But thanks to the help of members of the public, O’Reilly was identified as the driver and later arrested by police.
A ‘dangerous’ disqualified driver has been jailed after crashing into funfair in Wigan / Credit: GMP
After he was released on bail, it was established that he had attempted to engage others into assisting him in evading prosecution.
Speaking following O’Reilly’s sentencing this week, PC Wood, of GMP Transport Unit, commented: “O’Reilly’s disregard to his driving disqualification and actions behind the wheel that day were reckless and dangerous, and he put countless people at risk of harm. The injuries caused to the victim show the consequences dangerous driving has on other people.
“GMP would like to thank the members of the public who ensured that O’Reilly faced justice for his actions.”
PC Wood also took a moment to remind the Greater Manchester public that if they know someone who is driving whist dangerously, or while disqualified or unfit to be doing so, then they should report it to GMP.