The Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has re-affirmed its decision to hand a protestor, who protested for only ten minutes, a £10,000 fine.
Unison Rep and Mental Health Worker Karen Reissmann organised a protest against the Government’s 1% pay rise for NHS staff, which Reissmann stated was a “socially distanced and risk assessed” protest.
The protest consisted of supposedly “40 people” (according to the GMP), who placed cones to remain two metres apart, which fits the guidelines from the Government on social distancing.
The GMP did not take long to respond and informed Reissmann and the protestors the event could not go ahead as it did not fit with the current legal guidelines around gatherings. Reissmann had no choice but to comply and, although she voiced her concerns, the protest was dispersed and she asserted they needed to remain socially distancing as they left.
However, the GMP also called Reissmann to the side of the square, where the protest had taken place, to inform her that she was being awarded the maximum fine of £10,000. This was due to her orchestrating a gathering of more than 30 people, which goes against the current COVID-19 guidelines.
It is also believed that another NHS nurse, who was present with Reissmann to support her, was arrested for attempting to “obstruct” the police.
The 65-year-old was dragged through St Peter’s Square, where she was arrested and taken into custody, being placed in a police van.
Karen Reissmann has confirmed that she will be contesting the decision, even though Assistant Chief Constable Nick Bailey has said that the fine “appears to be appropriate”.