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Eighteen people have been arrested after disruption in Manchester city centre this afternoon.
Police were aware of and were monitoring a largely peaceful and contained group of protesters that had gathered at St. Peter’s Square at around 1pm on Saturday 27 March.
A majority of the crowd had left by around 4pm but some of those who remained began to sit on the Metrolink line at St Peter's Square and cause significant disruption to transport networks and members of the public in the city centre.
After repeated prior warnings from officers, who had positively engaged with those present all afternoon, police moved in and removed those obstructing the tram lines.
Those who remained and were obstructing the tram lines were moved away by police.
A total of 18 people were arrested and no injuries were reported.
Chief Superintendent Andy Sidebotham said: “We have been working closely with partners and engaging with those present at the protest all afternoon to avoid any risk or disruption to the wider public in the city centre and today’s event was largely peaceful and without issue.
“However, as the day went on the remaining group caused significant disruption to the public of Greater Manchester. I understand the desire to peacefully protest but by blocking trams this smaller group prevented passengers from travelling to work for essential journeys, including health and care workers. This was clearly unacceptable and, in our duty to serve the public, we could not allow to be tolerated any longer.
“I would like to pay tribute to the patience of the public today whilst we brought this to a conclusion. This importantly comes down to the people of Greater Manchester and a small minority today ultimately caused them a great deal of disruption which required us to step in and bring it to a fair and swift conclusion.”