A police officer has been slashed in the face with a glass bottle during violent protests at Old Trafford yesterday afternoon (2nd May).
A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police confirmed that the officer sustained a ‘significant slash wound’ to his face and was treated in hospital for his injuries.
At least one other officer was injured during the violence.
Flares, which emit a cloud of toxic smoke, were also set off, and protesters threw barriers as well as bottles and other missiles during the ‘protest’.
The angry mob had gathered to protest against the club’s owners, but the police took the brunt of the anger.
A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police said:
‘Officers were aware of a protest planned to take place in Old Trafford [on] Sunday 2 May and were working closely alongside partners to ensure those that attended were kept safe whilst enabling their right to peaceful protest.
‘Early in the afternoon, groups of protestors began to gather at Old Trafford and separately at The Lowry Hotel, Salford where the United players were staying. By late afternoon around 200 protestors had gathered outside the Lowry and over 1,000 at Old Trafford.
‘Officers continued to closely monitor the situation, engaging with those present but as the groups grew in size; it became clear that many of those present were not intending to exercise their right to peaceful protest. Flares were let off and bottles thrown at officers.
‘Protestors outside Old Trafford became especially aggressive and antagonistic towards police before a group of about 100 forced entry to the ground with some United staff having to lock themselves in rooms.
‘Those in the stadium were evicted by officers but outside on the forecourt hostility grew with bottles and barriers being thrown at officers and horses.
‘Two officers have been injured with one officer being attacked with a bottle and sustaining a significant slash wound to his face, requiring emergency hospital treatment.
‘With the situation increasing in hostility, additional officers had to be deployed and officers had to be drawn in from neighbouring forces to assist Greater Manchester officers.
‘Following discussion with The Premier League, Trafford Council and the clubs, a joint decision was made to postpone the match for safety reasons’.
An ‘anti-Glazer’ movement has gained significant momentum after the club’s owners tried to join a so-called ‘Super League’. But owing to the backlash, the project has been abandoned.
Stu Berry, Chairman of Greater Manchester Police Federation, said:
“We witnessed appalling scenes this afternoon – police officers are not punchbags for people protesting for their cause.
“I don’t think there’s a football fan out there who doesn’t support peaceful protest in favour of our national game. However, the minority who have soured those efforts with mindless violence against our colleagues must be identified and prosecuted for their actions today.
“Our thoughts are with our injured officers this evening and we hope the media can give our members the recognition they deserve.”
Stu added: “At the end of their shifts, hard-working police officers should be able to go home to their families in one piece. Not be rushed to hospital.
“We will be seeking a review of today’s operational risk assessment and public order resources on behalf of our members.”
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