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Liverpool fans condemned over ‘irresponsible and criminal’ behaviour during title celebrations | UK News

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The behaviour of Liverpool fans involved in violent disorder during celebrations of the club’s Premier League title win was “not only irresponsible, but criminal”, Merseyside’s chief constable has said.

Fifteen people were arrested during chaotic scenes in the city on Friday night as supporters gathered near the waterfront’s Pier Head to mark their side’s first league title since 1990.

In actions described as “unacceptable” by the club, some of those present were involved in violent clashes with police and part of the Liver Building was set alight as fireworks were launched.

Liverpool fans
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Liverpool fans gathered at Pier Head to celebrate the club’s first Premier League title

Chief Constable Andy Cooke, himself a Liverpool fan, said: “Last night, children and families were present alongside others and heavy-handed police intervention was therefore not appropriate at the time.

“Later on in the night, 15 people were arrested for violent disorder and my officers were subjected to a number of violent confrontations. This is not acceptable.”

He said CCTV was being examined to identify those responsible for criminal or anti-social behaviour and urged supporters to wait until it was safe to celebrate the club’s first ever Premier League title.

He also responded to criticism of a tweet he posted congratulating Liverpool, saying: “I make no secret of the fact that I am a Liverpool fan, I have lived in the city all my life and the majority of people here are either red or blue.

“The photograph in the Tweet I sent was from Madrid last year, not the Pier Head as some have mistakenly assumed.

“My message in the Tweet was to remind people celebrate at the right time, which is definitely not now.”

A Section 34 dispersal order was issued by police on Friday night, allowing them to disperse the crowds who had gathered in the city centre.

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Supporters had also gathered outside Anfield on Thursday

The city’s mayor, Joe Anderson, also criticised what he said was “mindless behaviour”.

“An occasion for celebration has been turned instead into headlines of disgraceful behaviour,” he said in an open letter.

“Our city is, rightly, proud of the phenomenal success of one of our football teams. But the time for public celebration in crowds is not now.

“Our city remains in the grip of a major public health crisis and this behaviour is wholly unacceptable. Let me be clear – lives are at risk.

“Seeing thousands of people congregating at the Pier Head into the early hours and the ugly scenes shared on social media afterwards was heartbreaking to see.

“Fireworks, flares and tons of litter, amount to nothing but disrespect for our city. Like many others, I became emotional out of frustration at what I was seeing.”

Liverpool fans
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Liverpool fans celebrating

A joint statement on behalf of the club, Liverpool City Council and Merseyside Police said: “Several thousand people turned up at the Pier Head on Friday June 26 and some chose to ignore the social distancing guidance and risk public safety.

“Our city is still in a public health crisis and this behaviour is wholly unacceptable.

“The potential danger of a second peak of COVID-19 still exists and we need to work together to make sure we don’t undo everything that has been achieved as a region during lockdown.

“When it is safe to do so, we will all work together to arrange a victory parade when everyone can come together to celebrate.

“Until that time, the safety of our city and our people continues to be our number-one priority.”



Anfield stadium



Piles of rubbish left outside Anfield

Videos shared social media showed a firework hitting the Liver Building, which is partly owned by Everton FC majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri.

Four fire engines were sent to extinguish a blaze on a balcony of the building, a Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said.

The statement added: “We all understand that fans want to celebrate, but now is not the time. We need to get through this first, and know that it is safe, before any victory parade can go ahead.

“But rest assured, when the time is right the city can have a party and paint the town red, but we need to be patient for the safety of the public of Merseyside.”

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Metro mayor of the Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram said: “The vast, vast majority of supporters followed the advice of the police, the club, the council, myself and others, to celebrate safely and at home. They deserve our praise and thanks for doing so.

“Unfortunately, a small minority of people did not listen to these pleas and instead chose to gather in public.

“In some cases, people behaved in a way that would be unacceptable even if we were not still grappling with a global pandemic.”

Video that appeared to show glass bottles being thrown at police was published by the Liverpool Daily Echo.

Discarded bottles and rubbish was left strewn across the area on Saturday morning, with council street cleaners on site to clear up.

It came after supporters packed into the area around Anfield on Thursday night, when Liverpool claimed the title after second-place Manchester City were beaten by Chelsea.

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