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Cops battle to shut down illegal street party celebrating Pakistan Independence Day flouting Manchester lockdown rules

COPS battled to shut down an illegal street party celebrating Pakistan Independence Day in locked down Manchester.

Hundreds gathered on the city's Curry Mile on Friday – flouting local rules banning outdoor gatherings of more than six people.

Social media footage from the event shows large crowds waving flags, sounding air horns and setting off flares.

In one clip, several men crowd a female officer and shout in her face.

Revellers also surrounded police, chanting 'Pakistan' – in celebration of the day the country achieved independence and was declared a sovereign state.

Outnumbered police were forced to close the main road, but no arrests were made and they were able to clear the crowds.

Manchester has been in local lockdown since July 31 following a spike in coronavirus cases.

Restrictions on social gatherings remain in place in Greater Manchester and other parts of northern England, despite measures being relaxed elsewhere.

People living in locked down areas cannot socialise with anyone they don't live with at pubs, restaurants and cafes.

It is also illegal for people who do not live together to meet in a private home or garden – and flouters face up to £2,300 in fines.

Meetings in public outdoor spaces, such as parks, are permitted but groups can be no bigger than six – unless the group includes people from only two households.

Friday's illegal gathering, which was in breach of local lockdown measures, sparked outrage from police and politicians.

MP for Manchester Gorton, Afzal Khan, said he was "disappointed, frustrated and angered with the appalling behaviour".

He added: "Not only is antisocial behaviour of this kind deeply disrespectful to Rusholme residents, ignoring the Covid-19 regulations puts us all at risk.

"To those who came from outside Manchester, knowing full well the Covid situation across our region, your choice to visit Rusholme increases the danger of spreading the virus further here and at your home.

"You should be ashamed – you have put your loved ones at risk."

And Detective Chief Inspector Carol Hobson said: "It is really disappointing to see behaviour of this type whilst we, as a community, are trying to combat coronavirus and keep each other safe.

"Friday night is one of the busiest in terms of demand on the police service and incidents like this one pull invaluable resources away from other people who may need the police more desperately. These blatant breaches slow us down.

"This being said, we are pleased that the majority of people engaged with us last night and listened to our officers. It's vital that we continue to work together through these tough times and do the right thing."

Deputy Chief Constable Ian Pilling added: "I can honestly say that in 30 years of policing I have never seen anything quite as outrageous as this behaviour.

"Quite frankly, it is beyond comprehension and I am incredibly disappointed that people feel they can gather in this way – blatantly flouting the rules."

Greater Manchester Police said it received 2,459 emergency calls on Friday – compared to 1,590 on the same day last year. 

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