But when a small group of protestors chose to sit down and block tram lines in St Peter’s Square, riot police moved in.
Following the demonstration – which has been widely-reported in local and national media – campaigners complained that officers used heavy-handed tactics by pushing and dragging people out of the area, and the images that have emerged of the arrest of a young woman have provoked particular outrage on social media.
It appeared that as the woman was dragged away, her jeans were pulled down leaving her exposed in just her underwear, and while eyewitnesses said an officer made attempts to pull her jeans back up, the scene prior had already been captured by a number of photographers.
One image shared on Twitter accuses the GMP of having “stripped” the woman publicly.
Andy Burnham was also tagged in the photo by another Twitter user – Mike / @TwobobTwobo2 – who stated: “I do hope you’ll be doing something about this Andy.” to which Mr Burnham responded yesterday evening: “I am Mike.
“I have started by asking Greater Manchester Police to provide a full explanation of what happened.”
Mr Burnham and Deputy Mayor Bev Hughes had previously backed the police’s response regarding their decision to break up the protesters, particularly in relation to those obstructing the tram lines, as the force stated the group refused to comply with instructions when asked to move away from the area.
“GMP had to manage a challenging situation carefully and we did not see a repeat of scenes seen in other parts of the country recently,” they said in a statement.
This morning, following Mr Burnham’s confirmation that he has asked the force to provide a “full explanation of what happened”, Greater Manchester Police has taken to Twitter to issue a brief initial statement addressing the nature of the incident.
The statement reads: “We are aware of the images and videos of a woman partially exposed when being arrested following Saturday’s protest in the city centre, which make for uncomfortable viewing.
“An urgent review is underway to establish circumstances,”.
The force also confirmed that an update will follow this initial statement “in due course”.
This brief statement comes after Greater Manchester Police had previously confirmed that Saturday’s demonstration had remained “largely peaceful” and “contained”, but then defended their decision to break up protestors obstructing tram lines when the group were repeatedly asked by officers and partners from Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) to move, but some failed to comply with this order.
Addressing the nature of the demonstration in an earlier statement, a spokesperson for the force said: “In all events, we have used the four Es approach, with a particular emphasis on engagement, to work our way through the challenges presented to us.
“Where this has been exhausted without success, we have moved to enforcement action where necessary.
“We continually prioritise the assessment of risk, the disruption caused, and importantly the safety of the wider public throughout.”
Police arrest four men and shut down ‘incredibly dangerous’ cannabis farm in Salford
Police have shut down a suspected cannabis farm in Salford today, arresting four men.
Officers swooped on the property on Arthur Street in Swinton after finding evidence that the house was being used to grow cannabis plants.
The farm has been described as ‘incredibly dangerous’ to other occupants in the area.
Three rooms in the house were full of plants growing, with a huge amount of wiring surrounding them that posed a fire hazard.
The four men detained by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) Salford Neighbourhood Team were subsequently arrested on suspicion of involvement in the production and supply of cannabis and remain in police custody for questioning.
Sergeant Peter MacFarlane said: “Locating a cannabis farm is a great result for the team who are gathering intelligence and working hard to crackdown on drug-related crime across Salford.
“Farms of this nature are also incredibly dangerous to other occupants in the area. The building itself is still being made safe due to the amount of wiring around the plants. Criminals running these types of enterprises have no regard for public safety and in these conditions, an electrical fault from bad wiring could easily start a fire and endanger lives.
“The arrests and seizures then go someway towards disrupting the supply of illegal drugs and the criminality that comes with it, and will also make our communities safer.
“This operation was intelligence led and a huge part of our intelligence comes from members of the public sharing information with us. If you have suspicions about a crime taking place please report it so we can take positive action and bring those responsible to justice.”
You can make a report by calling 101 or 999 in an emergency. You can also report via the LiveChat function on GMP’s website: www.gmp.police.uk
Alternatively you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Featured image: GMP
‘Groundbreaking’ new app to help get homeless people into work launches in Manchester
Homeless families across Manchester are set to benefit from a “groundbreaking” new service that gives them access to employment support.
With the ultimate aim of helping homeless people move out of temporary accommodation and into their own homes, Manchester City Council has announced a new pilot partnership with Beam – a social enterprise that fundraises on behalf of homeless people and connects them with a supportive online community.
Through Beam’s “innovative” app-based platform, homeless people can raise money for items that often end up being financial obstacles to them moving into a permanent home, whether than be funding equipment or training to help them secure stable and financially-viable employment, or towards a rental deposit, moving van, or other homeware essentials, and everything in between.
Donations come from people in the local community, and are shared out equally between participants, so that everyone reaches their fundraising target within an average of 17 days.
Having helped more than 1,300 homeless people “achieve their goals” since being founded in 2017, Beam isn’t just about funding, as it also has a team of caseworkers who provide one-to-one help with employment to those in need.
The caseworkers also lend a hand with searching for properties online, communicating with landlords, and booking house viewings, while Beam also works with a network of vetted landlords to help people find a home
The initiative also provides further support for at least six months after moving.
Over the next year, Manchester City Council says its pilot partnership with Beam will initially support 25 families who are living in temporary accommodation in the region, and move them into their own private rental homes.
Residents can be referred to the scheme by the Council’s housing teams, as well as other local services, and each person is assigned a caseworker from Beam, who then supports them on their journey into stable housing.
“No one chooses homelessness voluntarily,” admitted Councillor Joanna Midgley, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council.
“And when it happens, it can be devastating, which is why we are looking at a range of solutions to help people secure affordable and decent homes in Manchester.
“Our new partnership with Beam is an innovative approach to improve people’s life chances, supporting them, where possible, into sustainable jobs allowing them to move out of temporary accommodation and into their own homes.