St George’s Day open-air drink ban in Manchester due to fears of drunken violence by BNP and EDL

People were banned from drinking outside some city centre pubs on Saturday – over fears of violence by far-right groups celebrating St George’s Day.

As part of a one-day police operation, pubs were told not to allow people to use outdoor seating in parts of the city centre where violence had broken out in previous years amongst BNP and EDL members. Pubs and bars in the Shambles area and on Deansgate told customers they were only allowed to drink indoors on St George’s Day.

But some customers said the action was unfair – as outdoor seating areas lay empty on a scorching spring afternoon.

A police spokesman said officers took the decision to ban outdoor drinking in the Shambles and Deansgate areas after alcohol related-violence occurred when supporters of far-right groups gathered there on St George’s Day in previous years.

He said: “Drinking outside in various areas was banned because members of the BNP and EDL had used them to congregate, leading to drink-fuelled violence. This was a one-day operation specifically for St George’s Day in one part of the city centre.”

Manchester Evening News, 25 April 2011