Hundreds of people gather on Manchester Curry Mile to celebrate Pakistan Independence

15 August 2020, 19:07

Big crowds gathered in Wilmslow Road, Rusholme as part of huge celebrations
Big crowds gathered in Wilmslow Road, Rusholme as part of huge celebrations. Picture: Twitter

By Matt Drake

Hundreds of people gathered in Manchester's Curry Mile to celebrate Pakistan Independence Day on Friday night, forcing police to close the main road.

Big crowds gathered in Wilmslow Road, Rusholme as part of huge celebrations.

Social media footage shows hundreds of people waving flags and sounding air horns.

Police say the area was "heavily congested" with cars driving up and down the road in an "unsafe manner".

No arrests were made and officers dispersed the crowd with the help of a local councillor.

But community leaders and local politicians have criticised the celebrations.

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."

MP for Manchester Gorton, Afzal Khan, said: "Disappointed, frustrated and angered with the appalling behaviour on Wilmslow Road last night.

"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 last night 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."

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