PROTESTORS at an anti-austerity rally which coincided with the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester on October 4 were amazed to see police snipers in clear view on two different buildings.
With one breath, a police spokesman explained that the guns were only secondary to the fact that their sights were more powerful than binoculars and thus allowed the officers involved to get a better view of the crowd, estimated to be in the region of 60,000 people.
An officer told the Manchester Evening News: “It is an ongoing observation of the biggest march that has ever been in Manchester because of the Tory Party conference. But they are there purely for observation and supporting the police at the march as it’s a major public event.
“They are high up for that reason, to observe. And they are used for their powerful sight, which is stronger than any pair of binoculars. They are not there to shoot people.”
Another spokesman later, however, appeared to contradict this stating that the guns are intended to be used if necessary and snipers are routinely deployed at party conferences regardless of the party itself.