May 8, 2021

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Two officers injured during ‘aggressive’ Old Trafford protests

Greater Manchester Police said the Man United protesters were “particularly aggressive and antagonistic” before invading Old Trafford.

Mass protests were held at Old Trafford today in the run-up to Man unitedLiverpool match against Liverpool.

United supporters have visited the teams’ hotels and the stadium to show their anger at the Glazer family.

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A few hundred protesters eventually found their way into Old Trafford even when they were seen on the ground and in the stands. After a few hours, it was announced that the game had been postponed for safety and security reasons.

Greater Manchester Police have now revealed that two of their officers were injured during Sunday’s protests:

“The officers were aware of a protest scheduled to take place at Old Trafford today (Sunday, May 2) and were working closely with partners to ensure those in attendance were safe while allowing their right to demonstrate peacefully.

“Early this afternoon, groups of protesters began to gather at Old Trafford and separately at the Lowry Hotel in Salford, where the United players were staying. By late afternoon, around 200 protesters had gathered outside the Lowry and over 1,000 at Old Trafford.

“The officers continued to monitor the situation closely, in contact with those present, but as the groups grew; it became clear that many of those present did not intend to exercise their right to peaceful protest. Flares were launched and bottles thrown at the officers.

“Protesters outside Old Trafford became particularly aggressive and antagonistic towards the police as a group of about 100 people forced their way into the ground, with some United staff being locked into rooms.

“Those in the stadium were kicked out by officers, but outside on the forecourt, hostility increased with bottles and barriers thrown at officers and horses. Two policemen were injured after one policeman was attacked with a bottle and sustained a significant facial injury requiring emergency treatment in hospital.

“As the situation escalated in hostility, additional officers had to be deployed and officers from neighboring forces had to be recruited to assist officers in Greater Manchester.

“Following discussions with the Premier League, the Trafford Council and the clubs, a joint decision was taken to postpone the match for security reasons.”

GMP Deputy Chief Constable Russ Jackson said: “The behavior displayed today by those at Old Trafford and the Lowry Hotel was reckless and dangerous.

“We understand the passion many supporters have for their team and we fully respect the right to protest peacefully. Plans were in place to ensure this would happen safely, but it soon became apparent that many present had no intention of doing so peacefully.

“Their actions today have forced us to withdraw officers from the front line police services and call for support from neighboring forces to prevent the mess from escalating. At various locations, bottles and barriers were thrown, officers assaulted, and people scaled the stadium structure, creating risks for themselves and the officers.

“We have launched an investigation and will work closely with our partners to ensure that all the circumstances surrounding today’s events are established and those responsible are prosecuted.”