'Take back Manchester': 50,000 anti-Brexit protesters to descend on Tory conference & May

Posted on Sep 29 2017 - 1:54pm by admin

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50,000 protesters are expected to descend on Manchester for the Tory Party Conference

Two big protest marches are planned for the opening day on Sunday, as the Prime Minister and her Cabinet join 12,000 Tory Party delegates arriving for the four-day event.

Increased security measures are being taken following nasty scenes two years ago when Manchester also hosted the Tory Party Conference.

An estimated 30,000 people are expected to attend a march on Sunday afternoon in the city centre, organised by the People’s Assembly, an amalgam of groups opposed to austerity, who also plan a series of protest events for each day of the conference.

At the same time across the city, another 20,000 are expected for an anti-Brexit march before both descend on St Peter’s Square.

Anti-Tory protesters from across the UK have been preparing to join Sunday’s march since mid-July, with coaches to Manchester being put on from dozens of towns and cities, from Yeovil to Aberystwyth.

Many have taken to social media to reveal they will attend as they voiced their anger.

Ollie Barron, said: “I’d be so p****d off if the tory conference came to my town. Very unwelcome.”

Marie-Kate Higgins, said: “They are either very brave, or very stupid, holding it in Manchester.”

Chris Palmer, added: “Want to wish everyone the very best of luck in protesting in what will be cold weather. Solidarity.”

Paula Barker, Unison’s North West convenor, invited people to protest the conference using the hashtag #TakeBackMcr.

She added: “Our valuable Public Services have been attacked for seven years – its time to demonstrate, it’s time to say no!”

City bosses welcome the profile and the £30million boost the conference brings to Manchester, while local police say they will balance the right of delegates to attend the conference and the right of protesters to free speech and lawful protest – backed by 1,000 officers on duty on Sunday.

The city was gearing up on Thursday to host the event, with the venue complex, Manchester Central, busy with workers building a secure “island site” in the city centre as steel barriers go up and “vehicle mitigation” controls – concrete blocks – are laid down.

Visitors will have a “soft check” at entry points before going through airport-style metal detectors before entry.

At the last Tory conference in the city two years ago, ugly scenes broke out at entrances as some delegates, and journalists with lanyards identifying them as attending the conference, were heckled and spat at.

Police say they have reconfigured the site entry points to ensure that this year, delegates and visitors are not queuing on the streets before entry.

Many more armed police will be on duty, not only inside the venue, but also across the city centre, to “respond immediately” to any serious threat.

Superintendent John O’Hare, in charge of the operation for Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said police would have a “graded response” to protesters who intimidate others or break the law.

They will be spoken to, warned, moved on or if they persist, arrested.

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Journalists and party members in 2015 were abused by protesters, with eggs thrown at them

He said: “We have been really clear with protestors in saying that we are here to facilitate lawful and peaceful protest and we will do everything we can to enable them to exercise their right to free speech, their right to protest their right to voice their opinions.

“But what we have also been really clear in is, we expect that to come with a high degree of responsibility.

“So we have been really clear in terms of having a line in what we believe is acceptable in terms of protest and when that line is crossed and it starts becoming more intimidatory behaviour, or putting people in fear or people feeling oppressed by what’s being done, and at that point we will take action.”

The £2million policing cost is being met by the Home Office.

Shaun Hinds, CEO of Manchester Central, said: “The eyes of the world are on Manchester and on Manchester Central next week.

“It’s brilliant that Manchester will host what will be a global event and all of the media to be here.

“There’s a lot happening in the political environment in the UK, this is the partyof power.

“The fact that it’s all going to be happening in Manchester next week is great for the city.”

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