Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Police in Manchester assigned sniper units to rooftops on Sunday as tens of thousands of peaceful protesters marched on the Tory's annual meeting. (Photo: Social media)

Outrage Stirred as Police Deploy Snipers to 'Observe' Anti-Austerity March in UK

As more than 60,000 people marched against Tory's attack on the economy, sharp-shooters took up positions on rooftops

Jon Queally

As the national Conservative Party in the U.K. held its annual meeting in Manchester over the weekend, an anti-austerity demonstration against the ruling party's economic policies attracted not only tens of thousands of people to march peacefully... but a few police snipers to keep "watch" over those who oppose the government's gutting of the public sector.

Outrage resulted as images surfaced showing how police had dispatched sniper teams to rooftops in the city as an estimated 60,000 people, including families with young children, followed a route through the city center.

As the Manchester Evening News first reported:

Pictures have circulated on social media showing snipers on roofs in Manchester city centre during the Tory Party conference.

Police marksmen can be seen on the top of the Great Northern complex, and it is understood they are also on situated on other another city centre building.

Many wrote about the pictures on social media. Twitter user Ben Whittingham posted an aerial photograph of a man looking through the sniper on top of a roof.

He captioned it: “Just a police sniper on roof of Tory party conference, which resembles a prison.”

The original tweet from Whittingham is here:

In response to the public outcry, a Greater Manchester Police spokesperson told reporters the sniper units were only being used for "observation" purposes. "[The guns]," the official said, "are used for their powerful sight, which is stronger than any pair of binoculars. They are not there to shoot people."

Despite those assurances, many on social media condemned the behavior and scoffed at the reasoning offered by police:


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Report on Revolving Door and Tax Policy Sparks Calls for Federal Probe and Reforms

"This is an example of terrible management in the Treasury Department across multiple administrations."

Jessica Corbett ·


Nabisco Strike Ends After Union Members Approve New Contract

"Congratulations to these brave workers on their wins," said one labor writer. "May their determination and grit be an inspiration for workers everywhere."

Jessica Corbett ·


'I Had a Duty of Care': Doctor Praised for Violating Texas' New Abortion Ban

"I hope the law gets overturned," Dr. Alan Braid said, "and if this is what does it, that would be great."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Infuriating Disappointment': Biden DHS Ramping Up Deportations to Haiti

"It is unconscionable for the Biden administration to resume deportation flights to Haiti, despite the country's ongoing political, economic, and environmental disasters."

Jessica Corbett ·


Architect of Texas Abortion Ban Takes Aim at LGBTQ+ Rights While Urging Reversal of Roe

"Make no mistake, the goal is to force extreme, outdated, religious-driven values on all of us through the courts."

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo