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'Take off your masks': Four people arrested in Manchester after latest anti-lockdown march

Ross McGuinness
·2-min read

Watch: Hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters in Manchester

Four people have been arrested and dozens fined in Manchester after the latest anti-lockdown march in England.

A crowd of 600 people gathered in Manchester city centre on Sunday for a protest that police called “irresponsible”.

At one point the large crowd chanted “Take off your masks”.

It was the latest anti-lockdown march over the weekend, following protests in Brighton and Liverpool.

Home secretary Priti Patel has banned protests of more than two people as part of England’s second lockdown.

Greater Manchester Police said one group of protesters travelled by coach from Cumbria to attend the demonstration at Piccadilly Gardens on Sunday.

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - 2020/11/08: Protesters gather at St Peters Square during an anti-lockdown protest. Protests all across the country have been seen this weekend challenging the latest lockdown that was imposed on the country earlier in the week. (Photo by Kenny Brown/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Hundreds of people gathered in Manchester city centre on Sunday to protest against the coronavirus lockdown. (Getty Images)

A number of officers were injured, police said, with £200 fines issued to 24 protesters, while four people were arrested on suspicion of public order offences.

Assistant Chief Constable Mabs Hussain said: “At the peak of the gathering, in excess of 600 people were in attendance.

“I would like to use this opportunity to publicly condemn this gathering.

“Both the organisers and attendees were irresponsible – increasing demand on police who are also responding to calls regarding serious incidents and people who are in immediate danger across Greater Manchester.”

He said that before and during the protest, officers tried to engage with the organisers and attendees to “explain the restrictions and encourage compliance”, but this was ignored.

“Inquiries have established that one group of attendees travelled to Greater Manchester from Cumbria via coach,” he said.

“The driver and the company they work for have both been reported to the relevant industry regulator.

“Whilst responding to this gathering, a number of officers were injured.

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - 2020/11/08: Anti-lockdown protesters march on the street during the demonstration. Protests all across the country have been seen this weekend challenging the latest lockdown that was imposed on the country earlier in the week. (Photo by Kenny Brown/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Anti-lockdown protesters march on the street during the demonstration in Manchester on Sunday. (Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - 2020/11/08: Over a thousand protesters gather at St Peters Square during an anti-lockdown protest. Protests all across the country have been seen this weekend challenging the latest lockdown that was imposed on the country earlier in the week. (Photo by Andy Barton/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A crowd of 600 anti-lockdown protesters gathered in Manchester on Sunday. (Getty Images)

“This is unacceptable behaviour towards officers who were simply doing their job and protecting people.

“Investigators will now work to identify those responsible and ensure they face justice.”

In Brighton, hundreds of people marched without masks along the seafront on Saturday, many holding anti-lockdown and anti-vaccine placards.

In Liverpool, which is the centre of a COVID-19 mass testing pilot scheme, two people were arrested and three people were fined after an anti-lockdown protest on Saturday.

Hundreds of people took off their masks to walk along the city’s waterfront in protest at England’s new lockdown, which Boris Johnson has insisted will end on 2 December.

Last Thursday, on the first evening of the new measures, police in London arrested 190 anti-lockdown protesters after a march in Trafalgar Square.

Watch: Arrests after ‘Million Mask March’ in London

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