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  1. ITV Report

Police snipers spotted on Manchester rooftops during anti-austerity march at Conservative conference

Police snipers have been seen on Manchester rooftops during the Conservative Party conference.

As tens of thousands marched in an anti-austerity protest in the city centre, pictures showing police marksmen on buildings circulated on social media.

Greater Manchester Police defended the use of the marksmen, saying they were there "purely for observation".

However, the force was widely criticised on social media, with many suggesting the decision to deploy the snipers was excessive and "worrying".

A Greater Manchester Police (GMP) spokesperson 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 [the guns] are used for their powerful sight, which is stronger than any pair of binoculars.

They are not there to shoot people.

– GMP

ITV News has approached GMP for comment.