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.”
In just seconds, the entire ceiling is ablaze, with terrified customers scrambling for the exit.
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue service released the video in a bid to raise awareness and prevent any similar incidents at hospitality venues in the city-region.
The shocking incident occurred in a shisha bar in Rusholme, in May this year.
Fortunately, no one was seriously injured, but several people were taken to hospital with suspected burns.
In both this instance and in the One Eight Six incident, the cause of the blaze was determined as being ‘indoor fireworks igniting decorations, which then burned rapidly allowing the fire to spread’.
GMFRS is now working with licensing teams from the 10 councils in Greater Manchester to offer free information and advice sessions to owners and managers of cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants in advance of the Halloween, World Cup and the Christmas party season.
Leon Parkes, GMFRS’s director of prevention and protection, said: “Hospitality venues have a responsibility to keep their customers and staff safe and at Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service we want to help businesses to understand their legal responsibilities and take action to protect their property, staff and customers from fire.
“We have seen a couple of instances in the past year in Manchester where fires have broken out in venues caused by indoor fireworks setting light to decorations.
“While fortunately fires don’t occur very often, the impact of a fire can be devastating and many businesses don’t recover.
“Pubs, bars and other venues will be very, very busy during October, November and December. It’s important that staff prepare by getting trained in what they need to do and that they don’t inadvertently create a fire risk.
“We know that the last two years have been really difficult for hospitality businesses and hopefully the forthcoming World Cup and Christmas period will be a boost for them. We gave out fire safety advice in May last year as Covid-19 restrictions eased and we are now working with our partners to help hospitality businesses be safe and stay safe.”
‘Significant risk’ of UK gas shortages this winter, regulator warns
Energy regulator Ofgem has warned that the UK faces a ‘significant risk’ of gas shortages this winter.
According to reports in The Times, the regulator has unveiled concerns that the country could face blackouts over the coming months thanks to an undersupply of gas to Europe caused by Russia’s war with Ukraine.
Warning that a “gas supply emergency” could be looming ahead, the energy regulator has said that some gas-fired power plants could see their supplies cut off, which in turn would stop generators from producing electricity.
The alert comes just days before an expected update from the National Grid on the likelihood of countrywide power cuts this winter.
Responsing to arequest from SSE, which owns several gas power stations, Ofgem outlined what is set to be a huge issue of concern given that the UK relies on large gas plants to produce the biggest share of its electricity supply.
The regulator also pointed to rules that could see power plants penalised as a result of shortages, warning of a worst-case scenario that would see the “potential insolvency of gas-fired generators” caused by rules that require plants to pay huge charges if they fail to deliver on promised quotas.
Adding that the issue must be addressed to prevent a “significant impact on the safety and security of the electricity and/or gas systems”, the regulator echoed concerns now widespread in Europe as its comments followed a similar statement made by the International Energy Agency (IEA) this morning.
Europeans are already being told they must lower their thermostats and boilers in preparation in case gas supplies are cut off, with Paris-based agency IEA warning today that the EU must focus on getting underground gas reserve levels to 90% of capacity in case of a complete Russian supply shut-off.
Preparation are already being made in Europe with the German government having approved a set of energy-saving measures for the winter to limit use in public buildings. In France, meanwhile, companies have already been warned they may face energy rationing this winter.
Whilst the UK government is yet to announce any energey saving measures, Ofgem has said that it expect s“this winter to be more challenging than last year” and that it is taking “reasonable regulatory steps to mitigate and reduce the risks”.