Extinction Rebellion: Protesters close Deansgate in Manchester

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image captionProtesters arrived at about 07:30 BST and blocked off Deansgate to traffic

Climate change protesters have started a four day blockade of one of the busiest streets in Manchester.

Extinction Rebellion said it had chosen Deansgate because it is one of the city's most polluted routes.

Some businesses in Manchester city centre claim the protests are harming trade.

Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester Police said it was decided to close the road to make the protest safe for campaigners and the public.

Protesters blocked off the street from about 07:30 BST, setting up tents, stalls and a stage.

image captionThe road is usually full of cars and buses

Deansgate is closed from John Dalton Street to St Ann Street, with some side roads also closed, and buses are being re-routed.

Nigel Murphy, deputy leader of the council, said: "We believe in and respect people's right to peaceful protest and will always work with campaign groups, alongside the police and other agencies, to ensure they can demonstrate safely."

He added that in return for "respecting the rights of protesters", the council expects that they "respect the right of Manchester residents to go about their day-to-day business with minimal disruption".

Greater Manchester Police said the force had been engaging with the protests to "understand their plans so we can best respond to them".

image captionHairdresser Poalo Silvestri said there had been cancellations at his salon

A number of local business in the area have been affected.

Hairdresser Poalo Silvestri said he had received four cancellations on Friday and expected more throughout the weekend.

"They're just coming out once a year, twice a year, when there's a queue to make a noise for entertainment", he said of the protesters.

image captionAndrew Doherty (r) and Thomas Stott support the aim of the protest

Andrew Doherty and Thomas Stott own a menswear shop. Mr Doherty said he agreed with the protest "to a certain extent" but said "business is hard enough".

"Saturday will probably tell the story - if thousands turn up we'll probably not take much," he said.

image captionDeli owner Richard Katsouris has added more vegetarian options as a result of the protest

Richard Katsouris owns a deli and said he believes it has been good for business.

"We've worked around it, we've got deliveries in for the whole weekend early," he said.

image captionAllen Bonney and his bride-to-be Sophie got married on Deansgate

Allen Bonney and his bride-to-be Sophie stopped to take photos on their way to get married at a venue on Deansgate.

"We were a little bit concerned but when we looked up what they do and that it's a really good family vibe, it was fine," she said.

image captionJen Murphy and Helen Bambough acted as stewards for the protest group

Jen Murphy and Helen Bambough were acting as stewards for the protesters.

Ms Murphy was involved with blocking off the road and said it was the first time she had been involved in this action.

"I've made a decision that I do not want to be arrested. I've come in with my eyes open and I've minimised the risk," she said.

The protest is set to continue throughout the weekend with some protesters camping overnight.

image captionPlants were put out on Deansgate

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