“The officers were aware of a protest scheduled for today at Old Trafford (Sunday 2 May) and were working closely with the other authorities to ensure that those who attended were safe while allowing their right to peaceful protest.

This afternoon, groups of protesters began to gather at Old Trafford and separately at The Lowry Hotel, Salford, where the United players were staying. In the late afternoon around 200 protesters had gathered in front of the Lowry and more than 1,000 at Old Trafford.

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

Protesters outside Old Trafford became especially aggressive towards police before a group of around 100 forced their way onto the grass. Some United staff members had to lock themselves in rooms.

Those in the stadium were evicted by the officials, but outside, on the esplanade, hostility grew with bottles and fences thrown at officials and horses.. Two officers were injured, one of them was attacked with a bottle and suffered a major wound to the face, requiring emergency hospital treatment.

As hostility increased, additional officers had to be deployed and officers recruited from nearby forces to assist officers in Greater Manchester.

Following the meeting with the Premier League, Trafford Council and the clubs, a joint decision was made to postpone the match for security reasons.

GMP Deputy Police Chief Russ Jackson said: “The behavior displayed today by Old Trafford and The Lowry Hotel fans was reckless and dangerous.”

“We understand the passion that many fans have for their team and we fully respect the right to peaceful protest. There were plans to ensure this happened safely, but it soon became clear that many of those present had no intention of doing so peacefully. “

“The actions of those today forced us to take front-line police officers and ask for the support of nearby forces to prevent the disorder from worsening. At different points, bottles and fences were thrown, officers were attacked and people scaled the stadium structure creating a risk for them and the officers. “

“We have launched an investigation and will work closely with authorities to ensure that we establish all the circumstances surrounding today's events and prosecute those responsible.”


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