Police condemn ‘appalling’ party-goers after officers attacked at illegal event

Officers were subjected to “unacceptable attacks” at an illegal street party in Manchester on Saturday night, police have said.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said that attendees had behaved outrageously towards officers, who had objects thrown at them as they tried to stop the event in Harlow Drive, Gorton.

It followed other large gatherings in the Wilmslow Road area of the city on Friday.

Pedestrians walk past a sign urging people to 'wear a face covering' due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in Manchester, northwest England on August 3, 2020, following a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in the region. - Britain on Friday "put the brakes on" easing lockdown measures and imposed new rules on millions of households in northern England, following concerns over a spike in coronavirus infections. The government increased regional lockdown measures -- under which people from different households are banned from meeting indoors -- for some four million people across Greater Manchester and parts of Lancashire and Yorkshire. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
Image: Lockdown restrictions have been reimposed in Greater Manchester and some parts of northern England

Ian Pilling, deputy chief constable of GMP, said what happened was “beyond comprehension”.

The force had been “extremely stretched” as it dealt with “unprecedented demand”, he added.

That was despite having a “significant number” of GMP officers on duty, and calling in reinforcements from North Wales and Cheshire.

He added that he was “incredibly disappointed” that people had behaved as they did, “blatantly flouting the rules”.

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Mr Pilling said: “I can honestly say that in 30 years of policing I have never seen anything quite as outrageous as this behaviour. It is appalling.

“We are still in the midst of a global pandemic and over 40,000 people have lost their lives.”

He also cited local coronavirus lockdown restrictions in the Manchester area and said many places had a rising infection rate.

“People behaving in this way are contributing to an already difficult situation,” he said.

Video footage of the Gorton incident is being reviewed.

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It comes after gatherings on Friday on Pakistan Independence Day were condemned by Manchester Gorton MP Afzal Khan, who said he was disappointed, frustrated and angry.

He tweeted: “Not only is antisocial behaviour of this kind deeply disrespectful to Rusholme residents, ignoring the COVID-19 regulations puts us all at risk.”

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