10/8 14:07 – According to shop owners in the Arndale, shops have been told to close at 4:30 and everyone out by5pm. Reports of some businesses being told to vacate in Albert Square but seems to be for precaution rather than because of actual trouble.
Reports of some arrests on Oldham Street. At the moment the trams are still running through town.
Police presence definitely being stepped up around Piccadilly Gardens.
Australasia in Spinningfields has boarded up its triangle – http://yfrog.com/h8w9vjtj
Other shops are putting up protective boarding – http://yfrog.com/h2g55zgyj
09/08 22:33 – Lidl in Salford has been looted and set on fire. The Central Housing Office in Salford was also set alight. There are reports of a lot of smoke over Manchester which seems to be mainly from building fires in Salford. Reports that Affleck’s Palace is on fire appear to be false though some looting does seem to have taken place.
There are conflicting views on Twitter with some saying it seems to be dying down while others are reporting vans full of rioters entering the city centre making it seem a long way from stopping.
The Manchester community seem to be doing a lot to identify those involved by taking photos and videos.
They have also been able to keep their sense of humour:
09/08 21.20 – Early reports on Twitter have turned out to be quite accurate. Started with a relatively minor event at Salford Precinct and then spread to Manchester city centre. Miss Selfridges on Market Street was set alight – this is now under control. A large number of shops have had windows smashed and have been looted, including Foot Asylum. Reports also that Affleck’s Palace – a place for small businesses to thrive – has been looted though this is as yet unconfirmed. General opinion seems to be that this is less organised with many small groups of rioters throughout the city rather than large groups.
Original article posted 09/08 16:00
Yesterday, the London riots spread further afield to the cities of Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds and Liverpool. Here in Manchester, I was pleasantly surprised that we too had not been affected, but assumed it would not be long before it reached us.
At lunchtime today, Tweets from people in Manchester started warning of planned riots in the city centre at 4pm and shops being told by the police to close their doors by 3pm
However, despite all these rumours, there was no evidence of anyone actually trying to organise anything on Twitter and the same with Facebook. All the activity was from people trying to do the right thing and warning others of possible problems – not quite the organisational platform the press has portrayed. If the papers are to be believed rioters will all have their blackberry phones and be using BBM to plan it, which cannot be intercepted because of encryption.
Greater Manchester Police has been very quick in their attempts to quash these rumours. They have posted a new update on their status page explaining that Manchester has had no linked violence and advised everyone to check their Twitter feed for updates. They have also been really proactive at thanking people for reporting tweets, disturbances etc to them. The police only have so many eyes, and the information provided by members of the public could make all the difference.
So, for the time being Manchester is peaceful. Rest assured though that with our far reaching views across Manchester we will be right on top of any action and update accordingly.
In the meantime, do follow @gmpolice for the most accurate reporting.