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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 June, 2005, 11:04 GMT 12:04 UK
Police defend Glazer demo action
Police clear a barricade to allow a van allegedly carrying Joel Glazer outside Old Trafford
Police had to close Matt Busby Way to get the Glazers out of the ground
A senior policeman has defended his officers' actions after a protest by Manchester United fans opposed to the club's takeover turned violent.

Fans were trying to stop new owner Malcolm Glazer's sons from leaving Old Trafford after their first visit.

More than 100 officers were deployed as up to 500 protested on Wednesday night.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Thomas said: "In our view, this was a violent demonstration that had the potential to become even more violent."

Joel, Avi and Bryan Glazer eventually left the ground hidden in the back of a van. Two people were arrested.

Batons 'justified'

Mr Thomas said hundreds of demonstrators built barricades blocking exits and the crowd erupted into violence, with bottles and bricks thrown.

He denied claims that officers had been heavy-handed in using batons.

Officers using police dogs and batons charged the smaller barricade to allow the convoy of marked police vans to pass. Sir Matt Busby Way had to be closed.

Mr Thomas said no complaints had been received but he had asked for reports on the protest.

Police and the protesters at Old Trafford
About 500 fans joined the protest

He said: "... I am happy that our officers acted properly. We believe officers used the batons quite lawfully and quite justifiably."

A boy aged 15 was cautioned after being held on suspicion of criminal damage, and a man charged with a public order offence and possessing a CS canister.

The man, 19, from Woodhouse Park, Manchester, was due to appear at Trafford Magistrates' Court on Friday.

The Glazers' visit was part of a brief UK trip to meet figures from the club, the Football Association and the Premier League.


Many of the fans chanted "die Glazer die" during the protest.

Shareholders United vice-chairman Sean Bones said: "The Glazer family are the enemies of Manchester United.

"It might take a long time, maybe two or three years, but we are showing Glazer that we won't give up."

The US brothers were in Britain to offer "the truth" about their plans for United following the completion of their father Malcolm's successful 790m takeover.

Joel Glazer said: "There has been a lot in the UK press about us in the last 18 months and this has been an invaluable chance to tell the men who run the game what the truth is."

A spokesman for Manchester United refused to comment on the protest.

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