An officer whose face was slashed during a protest by Manchester United fans suffered 'life-changing injuries' and is 'incredibly lucky not to have lost sight', police say.
The planned match against Liverpool was dramatically called off yesterday after anti-Glazer protesters got onto the Old Trafford pitch and clashed with police outside the stadium, as fans tried to blockade a hotel to prevent the United team from leaving for the game.
Police said one of the officers injured during a protest by Manchester United fans on Sunday suffered 'life-changing' eye injuries, having sustained a 'significant' slash wound to the face during the unrest.
Stu Berry, chairman of Greater Manchester Police Federation, which represents the force's rank-and-file, said the injured officer was a PC with around 20 years' service.
He said: 'Our brave colleague went to work yesterday to keep the people of Greater Manchester safe - and he ended up coming under attack. He is incredibly lucky not to have lost the sight in an eye.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
'This is not right. Police officers are mothers, fathers, husbands, wives and partners. They are sons and daughters. They are human beings who should be able to go home to their families in one piece at the end of their shifts. Not be rushed to hospital.
'We are offering support to our injured colleague and will continue to do so as he recovers from his injuries.'
Mr Berry said police officers needed better equipment to protect themselves during demonstrations following violence at previous protests in London and Bristol in recent weeks.
He said: 'We are witnessing colleagues come under relentless attack wearing not much more than a flat cap and a high-vis jacket and with a baton to keep themselves safe. Our officers must be properly protected and appropriately equipped with public order gear - including helmets and shields - when policing these protesters.
'This will in no way be the last demonstration UK police officers have to encounter as the nation unlocks and our courageous colleagues are bearing the brunt of public frustration. They must have the appropriate kit available to protect themselves.
'Officers are not - and never will be - punchbags for people protesting for their cause. We have seen too many images of police officers at protests over recent weeks with blood gushing from their faces. How many more do we have to see? How badly does a police officer have to be injured before we do something?'
One video from the clash shows a police officer appearing to punch a football fan amid ugly scenes before the planned game against Liverpool last night.
In footage captured outside the Lowry Hotel in Manchester, a team of officers were seen dragging one man away from the scene before one was seen appearing to hit the fan several times as he lies on the ground.
The force told MailOnline a 28-year-old was arrested on suspicion of a theft from a motor vehicle and a public order offence, and remains in custody for questioning.
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Two police officers were hurt in the disorder as they were pelted with bottles, with one (pictured) sustaining a serous facial injury after he was slashed across the face
In footage captured outside the Lowry Hotel in Manchester, an officer appears to hit a fan several times as he lies on the ground while being arrested
Several officers can be seen dragging one protester away before pinning him to the ground
Officers formed a ring around one protester as the clashes turned ugly last night
A team pinned the 28-year-old to the ground before arresting him
Footage captured from above the scene shows the arrest behind the police vans
Greater Manchester Police's Professional Standards Branch is now examining the footage, 'and all available evidence to understand the full circumstances surrounding the arrest.'
Following discussion between the Police, The Premier League, Trafford Council and the clubs, our match against Liverpool has been postponed due to safety and security considerations around the protest today.
Discussions will now take place with the Premier League on a revised date for the fixture.
Our fans are passionate about Manchester United, and we completely acknowledge the right to free expression and peaceful protest.
However, we regret the disruption to the team and actions which put other fans, staff, and the police in danger.
We thank the police for their support and will assist them in any subsequent investigations.
PREMIER LEAGUE STATEMENT
Following the security breach at Old Trafford, the Manchester United vs. Liverpool game has been postponed.
This is a collective decision from the police, both clubs, the Premier League and local authorities.
The security and safety of everyone at Old Trafford remains of paramount importance. We understand and respect the strength of feeling but condemn all acts of violence, criminal damage and trespass, especially given the associated COVID-19 breaches.
Fans have many channels by which to make their views known, but the actions of a minority seen today have no justification.
We sympathise with the police and stewards who had to deal with a dangerous situation that should have no place in football.
The rearrangement of the fixture will be communicated in due course.
Another video has since emerged showing yobs launching missiles at officers and shouting 'f***ing pigs' and 'f***ing cowards' as they attempt to karate kick their way onto the pitch.
Two police officers were hurt in the disorder as they were pelted with bottles, with one sustaining a serous facial injury.
Protesters set off smoke bombs and flares outside the stadium as cars were tipped over in the city, and the Football Association has now launched an investigation into how fans were able able to storm Old Trafford
Video captured shows several officers dragging one protester away before pinning him to the ground.
One officer tells onlookers to 'get back' as his colleagues tell the man arrested to 'stop resisting.'
Greater Manchester Police told MailOnline: 'We are aware of a video circulating online of officers making an arrest during a protest on Sunday 2 May near The Lowry Hotel.
'The video depicts officers arresting a 28-year-old male on suspicion of a theft from a motor vehicle and a public order offence.
'He currently remains in custody for questioning.
'GMP's Professional Standards Branch has been made aware of the video and will be examining the footage and all available evidence to understand the full circumstances surrounding the arrest.'
It is the first time a Premier League fixture has been postponed due to a protest, and Greater Manchester Police has now launched an investigation.
Assistant chief constable Russ Jackson said it was clear many demonstrators had no intention of protesting peacefully as he condemned their 'reckless and dangerous' behaviour.
He added: 'The actions of those today required us to take officers from front-line policing and call in support from neighbouring forces to prevent the disorder getting worse.
'At different points, bottles and barriers were thrown, officers assaulted and people scaled the stadium structure creating risk for themselves and officers.'
The Red Devils were among 12 clubs that last month signed up for the breakaway European Super League, which collapsed within 48 hours due to huge, unrelenting pressure.
Those plans brought anger against the already despised Glazer family to a new level, with fans congregating at both Old Trafford and the Lowry, the team hotel in the city centre, to demand change ahead of Sunday's clash with Liverpool.
Police said that by late afternoon around 200 protesters had gathered outside the Lowry and over 1,000 at the stadium.
There was an initial unspecified delay to the scheduled 1630 kick-off before confirmation came through from United at 1735 that the match had been postponed 'due to safety and security considerations around the protest'.
A club statement read: 'Our fans are passionate about Manchester United, and we completely acknowledge the right to free expression and peaceful protest.
'However, we regret the disruption to the team and actions which put other fans, staff, and the police in danger.
'We thank the police for their support and will assist them in any subsequent investigations.'
The Premier League said it understood the fans' 'strength of feeling', but condemned 'all acts of violence, criminal damage and trespass, especially given the associated Covid-19 breaches'.
Armed with a can of Strongbow, two fans who stormed Old Trafford grabbed the corner flag before fleeing the stadium with it. Do YOU know the fan who grabbed the flag? Email [email protected]
Police attempted to clear the crowds from away from the player entrance and tunnel area at Old Trafford
It added: 'Fans have many channels by which to make their views known, but the actions of a minority seen today have no justification.
'We sympathise with the police and stewards who had to deal with a dangerous situation that should have no place in football. The rearrangement of the fixture will be communicated in due course.'
Liverpool, another founding member of the Super League, said they were in 'full agreement' with the postponement.
Manchester United Supporters Trust wants the Government to act to prevent single private shareholders holding majority ownerships in football clubs.
Manchester United protesters climbed over steel gates to enter Munich Tunnel and open access door to allow over a hundred fans into Old Trafford... ending rumours that a member of staff assisted break-in that forced postponement of Liverpool game
By Chris Wheeler for MailOnline
Manchester United fans who got inside the Munich Tunnel and forced open an access door were responsible for letting in more than a hundred fellow protesters during Sunday's demonstration at Old Trafford, it has been revealed.
There have been concerns that the door was opened by a member of staff after protesters who got into the stadium and onto the pitch told Sportsmail that it was opened from within.
The Manchester United Supporters Trust also raised the issue in a statement on Sunday, saying: 'Whilst the invasion of the stadium isn't something we expected – and it is rumoured a gate was opened for fans – even if that is not the case we believe the vast majority of Manchester United staff are sympathetic with the views of the fans.'
However, it has now emerged that a number of fans were able to climb over the steel gates guarding the Munich Tunnel.
Manchester United fans who got inside the Munich Tunnel and forced open an access door were responsible for letting in more than a hundred fellow protesters during Sunday's demonstration at Old Trafford, it has been revealed. Pictured, Police battle with United protesters as red steel barriers are thrown into the air
Some confronted stewards in front of the directors' entrance but others forced open a separate access door and then doubled back to let in more protesters gathered outside.
More than a hundred flooded into Old Trafford and accessed the pitch, either through the disabled section or by sliding down the tarpaulin sheets covering the empty seats.
They took the match balls and corner flags that had been set out for the Premier League game against Liverpool, threw a flare at the Sky Sports gantry – where pundits Roy Keane, Graeme Souness, Jamie Carragher and Micah Richards were on air – and wrecked a TV camera by the side of the pitch.
Staff inside the ground were told to take refuge in offices with locked doors for their own safety until the pitch was cleared.
A second break-in occurred shortly afterwards when fans kicked in a glass entrance to the disabled lift access and got back on the pitch.
The game was eventually called off following the breach of security and clashes outside Old Trafford which left two policemen injured.Gary Neville calls on 'ALL football fans to unite for reform' after anti-Glazer protestors force Liverpool clash to be postponed... while Jamie Carragher admits he 'cannot criticise' United supporters for their anger
By Adam Shergold and Danny Gallagher for MailOnline
Gary Neville called for a