Superintendent Caroline Hemingway, of Greater Manchester Police, said in a statement; “With the positive step of schools reopening tomorrow, it is vital that people continue to follow Government legislation on social distancing and avoid gathering illegally in large numbers.
“Regardless of one’s sympathies for a protest’s cause, we would ask the public to maintain social distancing and follow legislation to prevent a rise in infections and provide the best possible chance of a further easing of restrictions in the weeks to come.
“We sought to engage with and peaceably disperse those attending this afternoon’s protest, explaining that the gathering was in contravention of Government lockdown rules.
“Unfortunately officers were met with a degree of non-compliance and it was therefore necessary to issue fixed penalty notices.”
Nurses United UK have publically distanced themselves from the protest denying any involvement.
Tom Bolger, convenor of the grassroots group, said; We are aware of the event in Manchester. While we can understand that people may associate our organisation with activism on a 15% pay rise, as far as we are aware no Nurses United members were involved within the actions today.
Fellow grassroots campaigners NHS Workers Say No added; “NHS Workers Say NO! share the Manchester protest groups outrage at the government’s recommendation of a 1% pay rise.
“Workers are rightly scared about the future of the NHS for their patients and their communities, and across the UK I think we can expect to see them expressing this in various ways.
“It was disappointing to see this expression of outrage shut down in such a heavy-handed way, in an attempt to silence an already demoralised workforce.