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Last Updated: Sunday, 24 September 2006, 14:46 GMT 15:46 UK
Labour conference opens in city
Tony and Cherie Blair attend a church before the Labour Conference
Labour last held their annual conference in Manchester in 1917
The Labour Party has started its annual conference in Manchester, the first time it has been held in the city since 1917.

A police security cordon, taking in the G-Mex conference centre and nearby hotels, has sealed off part of the city centre to traffic.

Party chair and Salford MP Hazel Blears opened the conference celebrating the party's record in government.

An estimated 17,000 people will be in the city for the conference.

Church parade

Earlier in the day Prime Minister Tony Blair attended a church service at St Ann's Church in the city centre with his wife Cherie, where they were greeted by the Canon Rodger Hill.

The security operation for the conference is the biggest ever mounted by Greater Manchester Police (GMP), costing 4.2m and involving 1,000 officers every day.

Security arrangements had to be reviewed last week after thieves stole a laptop containing confidential plans for the conference.

In addition to GMP, officers from the security services, the military, Special Branch and Greater Manchester's anti-terrorist unit are involved in the operation.

Demo praise

On Saturday police praised the estimated 20,000 anti-war protesters for their peaceful demonstration.

Supt John O'Hare of Gtr Manchester Police said: "I would thank the organisers and those who took part for behaving peacefully and lawfully."

Demonstrators were protesting against government policies in the Middle East and on nuclear weapons.

A peace camp has been set up in the Manchester Peace Garden which is near the town hall and close to the conference venue.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Protesters on the streets of Manchester



SEE ALSO
Thousands at city's anti-war demo
23 Sep 06 |  Manchester
City ready for Labour conference
22 Sep 06 |  Manchester
Peace camp protesters to defy ban
16 Sep 06 |  Manchester
Council accused of censoring demo
13 Sep 06 |  Manchester
Anti-war families to set up party
05 Aug 06 |  UK Politics
Troop families make anti-war call
10 Jun 06 |  UK Politics

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