Liverpool FC fans' behaviour 'unacceptable', says club

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Image source, PA Media
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Fire crews extinguished a small blaze at the Liver Building after a firework was set off

Liverpool FC has condemned the conduct of some fans who gathered in the city to celebrate the Premier League title win as "wholly unacceptable".

Thirty-four people were injured - three seriously - as thousands of people turned up on the city's waterfront despite restrictions on gatherings.

Firefighters also extinguished a small fire at the landmark Liver Building.

Mayor Joe Anderson said the events "brought Liverpool Football Club and the city of Liverpool into disrepute".

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Some fans lit flares at the Pier Head waterfront

Three people remain in a serious condition in hospital, the North West Ambulance Service said.

Another 24 people were also treated in hospital, while seven others were treated at the scene.

A 19-year-old man from Scarisbrick, Lancashire, has been arrested on suspicion of arson after the fire at the Liver Building, thought to have been started by a firework.

The blaze caused at least £10,000 worth of damage, police said.

Fifteen people have been arrested for violent disorder and police officers were "subjected to a number of violent confrontations", Merseyside Police Chief Constable Andy Cooke said on Twitter.

"Last night, children and families were present alongside others and heavy-handed police intervention was therefore not appropriate at the time," he said.

Assistant Chief Constable Jon Roy said missiles were thrown at police, including at two officers who were trying to help the victim of an assault and make an arrest.

"Both those officers came under attack from bottles being thrown at them and were injured as a result," he added.

In the early hours, after most fans had left, a group of about 100 people also committed "acts of disorder and then threw glasses and bottles at the police when they tried to intervene," he said.

Image source, Liverpool City Council
Image caption,
Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson tweeted a photo of Pier Head on Friday

A joint statement from Liverpool FC, the city's council and Merseyside Police said: "Our city is still in a public health crisis and this behaviour is wholly unacceptable.

"The potential danger of a second peak of Covid-19 still exists and we need to work together to make sure we don't undo everything that has been achieved as a region during lockdown.

"When it is safe to do so, we will all work together to arrange a victory parade when everyone can come together to celebrate."

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Mr Anderson told BBC Radio Merseyside he was "frustrated and angry and upset".

He said: "People were urinating in doorways of the Cunard building because people gathered there with cases and cases of beer.

"About 95% of fans have behaved remarkably well, brilliantly, and listened to our pleas not to gather together, and yet there are a tiny minority besmirching Liverpool Football Club's name."

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The events overnight drew criticism from Liverpool FC and several fans

Friday was the second consecutive night crowds gathered to celebrate the club's first league win in 30 years.

"On Thursday, when they gathered outside Anfield, you could argue that the passion was there and we had to accept that was inevitable," Mr Anderson said.

"But what we saw yesterday was pre-meditated, planned, thought through, and drink played a major part in that.

"That's no [longer] acceptable now in this city."

BBC Radio Merseyside reporter Philip Munns, who was at the Liver Building on Saturday morning, said there were boxes, broken bottles, cans, empty gas canisters and bags "all strewn across the area".

After Friday's crowds, Merseyside Police issued a dispersal order for the city centre until Sunday.

"We know a lot of Liverpool fans want to celebrate their Premier League win, but there is a time and a place for this - and this weekend is neither," a spokesperson said.

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Crowds also gathered outside Anfield on Friday

Mr Anderson said he would talk to police about "why no action was taken much earlier".

"I'm expecting Merseyside Police to come down really heavy now… it's about the safety of our city," he said.

"I am angry that people are not considerate to other people, their families, the NHS and the workers that have to deal with this. Covid has not gone away."

He said reported cases of coronavirus had fallen in the past weeks but crowds were "putting that at risk".

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