Old Trafford clashes that left police injured were ‘unacceptable’

Old Trafford clashes that left police injured were ‘unacceptable’


Police also called the ugly scenes at Manchester United's game against Liverpool on Sunday, which resulted in a police officer requiring emergency medical care, "absolutely unacceptable."



Greater Manchester Police (GMP) reported two officers were wounded, one of whom was “attacked with a bottle and sustained a serious slash wound to his face, necessitating emergency medical treatment.”


It occurred after approximately 100 fans invaded the pitch at Old Trafford ahead of the game on Sunday in defiance of Manchester United's American owners, the Glazer family.


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Foreign Office minister James Cleverly responded to the scenes by saying that while he "cannot tolerate" fans' actions, it is necessary to recognize their "frustrations" with football clubs.


“Looking at the scenes, there can't be a reason for that kind of behavior,” Mr. Cleverly told Sky News. So, while I cannot condone the videos we've seen of fans storming the stadium, we do need to consider the fans' frustrations.”



Outside the stadium, a mob started hurling bottles and barriers at officers and horses, inciting abuse that should be denounced in the “strongest possible terms” by pundits, clubs, and players, according to National Police Federation chairman John Apter.


“Yet again, we've seen a so-called peaceful demonstration turn violent, this time directed at my colleagues,” he said. Officers were hurt and had to go to the hospital. This is utterly unacceptable.”


Old Trafford clashes that left police injured were ‘unacceptable’


The Greater Manchester Police Federation's chairman, Stu Berry, said that officers are not "punchbags for people demonstrating" a cause. “Hardworking police officers should be able to go home to their families in one piece at the end of their shifts,” he said.


He said that the perpetrators must be found and punished because football fans support nonviolent protests in support of the national game, but these were "appalling scenes" of "mindless brutality" perpetrated by a "minority."



Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson of the GMP said it was obvious that many protesters had no intention of protesting peacefully, and he condemned their "dangerous" actions.


Manchester United was one of 12 clubs that signed up for the breakaway Super League last month, which collapsed within 48 hours due to massive, unrelenting pressure.


According to police, about 200 demonstrators had gathered outside the Lowry theatre by late afternoon on Sunday, with over 1,000 at the stadium. Fireworks were set off outside the stadium as demonstrators marched into the Munich Tunnel, filling the air with smoke.



Fences erected in front of the East Stand were quickly demolished as a number of stewards were overwhelmed and barriers overturned. The match, which was scheduled to begin at 4.30 p.m., was postponed due to safety and security concerns. It will take place on an as-yet-undetermined date.


The mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said on Twitter, "It is important to note that the majority of supporters demonstrated peacefully today." There is, however, no reason for the conduct of a minority that wounded police officers and put others' safety at risk.


“We should all reject all forms of aggression and hold the spotlight on the actions of those at the top of the game.”



The Premier League acknowledged the fans' "depth of feeling," but condemned "all acts of aggression, criminal harm, and trespass, especially in light of the related Covid-19 breaches."


It went on to say, "Fans have several outlets by which to express their opinions, but the acts of a minority seen today have no excuse."


“We sympathize with the officers and stewards who had to deal with a potentially dangerous situation that has no place in football.”


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