GROUPS who clashed during a march through Manchester city centre have been condemned by the Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham

The march was organised by the UK Against Hate group, which claims it was attacked by people hurling bottles and flares, which resulted in eight arrests.

UK Against Hate said it had organised the march to "stand together in Manchester in opposition to hate" three weeks after the Manchester Arena bombing which resulted in the deaths of 22 people with 110 injured.

More than 400 officers were deployed, with support from other police forces as hundreds of demonstrators and counter demonstrators including the English Defence League, packed Piccadilly, with some chanting "Our streets" and "You're not English any more."

Ch Supt John O'Hare told the BBC, the march was "incredibly challenging".

He added: "I understand that these events are very emotive and that tensions run high when there are polarised views and counter-protests."

"This meant another busy weekend for our people who have worked considerably long hours in extremely challenging circumstances for no other reason other than to look after our communities."

Mr Burnham told the Messenger: "People have a right to peaceful protest and my objection is with those who hijacked this event.

"Those people don't have a right to come here and cause trouble to break through police lines and stop trams at a time when Greater Manchester Police is dealing with the biggest investigation it has ever faced."

He added: "How people think it is right to come here and distract Greater Manchester Police from that task is beyond me."