Manchester Piccadilly station shuts down due to protesters on tracks for Afrin

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Manchester Piccadilly train station could not operate for several hours after protesters trespassed onto the train tracks, causing nationwide disruption to services.

Hundreds of people marched from Piccadilly Gardens to the Piccadilly train station on Sunday.

They were protesting against the UK government’s “silence” over Turkey’s military assaults against Afrin, a predominantly Kurdish city in Northern Syria.

The Kurds believe that Turkey’s agenda is to “ethnically cleanse” the region of them.

The protest was part of a Europe-wide string of nonviolent resistance protests, where protesters carry out acts of civil disobedience by causing disruptions in order to get government attention.

Manchester Piccadilly train station:
The protesters stormed into the station and onto the train tracks, resulting in closure of the station.

The incident left many passengers stranded on trains travelling to, via and from Manchester Piccadilly.

It took Virgin Trains 25 minutes to tweet about the incident:

They later announced that the station would be closed until further notice:

While events unfolded, members of the public took to social media to post images and videos of what was happening.

The protesters marched into the station chanting: “Shame on you Theresa May”, “Wake up UK”, “Stop supporting Turkish State”, “Hands off Afrin”, and so on.

Protesters were also seen holding banners which read: “Stop Turkey from helping ISIS terrorists”, a claim which Turkey has always denied.

An activist explained that they carried out the Manchester Piccadilly station protest due to the “violence and injustice happening in Afrin, carried out by the Turkish military”

She went on to say: “Britain has a global responsibility to uphold and speak out against what has been going on since January, which is an unwarranted attack on millions of refugees and locals in Afrin”

She went on to say that the purpose of their protest was to “force a reaction” [about the situation in Afrin]from the government.

The government has not yet officially responded to the protest.

As the train station remained shut down, protesters sang and read poetry about the war in Syria.

The incident is said to have cost companies thousands of pounds due to cancellations and delays to services.

This is as well as inconveniences caused to the people travelling, many of whom were stuck on trains.

After apologising about the disruption caused to members of the public, one protester told me: “we had no choice but to do this, our government is choosing to stay silence about the massacre of innocent people”

‘Couldn’t the protest have been without disrupting the service’

Many took to social media to express their outrage at the incident:

While some shared angry or hateful tweets about the situation, there were others who were more sympathetic to the protesters.

A Twitter user responded to angry tweets by saying: the protest “may inconvenience you but take a moment to think about why they were pushed to do this.”

 

The protest ended peacefully and no arrests were made. Protesters left the station at the request of the police.

Following the reopening of the station, Superintendent Mark Cleland, from British Transport Police said an investigation will be carried out.

He went on to say: “Those involved in [the]incident will be subject to intense investigation with a view to arrest and prosecution.”

We will update this page as further news comes in. Please keep checking for updates.

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