Liverpool have condemned the behavior of fans who gathered in Liverpool city center for a second night on Friday to celebrate their team’s Premier League title win and urged them to stay at home due to fears of a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Local media reported that fans launched fireworks at the Royal Liver Building, with a fire breaking out on the balcony of the landmark owned by Farhad Moshiri, the majority shareholder of the side’s local rivals Everton.
Liverpool’s 30-year wait for their 19th English top-flight title ended on Thursday after second-placed Manchester City were beaten by Chelsea.
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Thousands of fans turned up at Anfield stadium on Thursday to celebrate, and Merseyside Police issued a dispersal order on Friday after crowds gathered for a second night at the city center near the Mersey Ferry terminal.
“Our city is still in a public health crisis and this behavior is wholly unacceptable,” Liverpool, Merseyside police and the Liverpool City Council said in a joint statement.
“The potential danger of a second peak of COVID-19 still exists and we need to work together to make sure we don’t undo everything that has been achieved as a region during lockdown.
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“When it is safe to do so, we will all work together to arrange a victory parade when everyone can come together to celebrate.”
The police said on Twitter that the dispersal order would remain in force until Sunday.
A Section 34 Dispersal Order has been issued around the Liverpool City Centre (seen on map) under the ASB, Crime and Policing Act 2014 following large gatherings in the area this evening. The order will be in place until 28th June. pic.twitter.com/6BVSZzibKI— Merseyside Police (@MerseyPolice) June 26, 2020
Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson urged fans to return home after pictures of the crowd near the Mersey Ferry terminal emerged on social media.
“I appreciate LFC fans want to celebrate but please, for your own safety, and that of others, go home and celebrate at home,” Anderson said on Twitter.
I am really concerned about scenes at Pier Head tonight. I appreciate #LFC fans want to celebrate but please, for your own safety, and that of others, go home and celebrate at home. Covid-19 is still a major risk and our city has already lost far too many people to the illness pic.twitter.com/fqoQZvcSQG— Joe Anderson (@mayor_anderson) June 26, 2020
“People are asking why we are not moving the fans on, or taking action to prevent them gathering. Councils simply do not have the power to do this. If you know someone who is there, please message them and ask them to come home.”
Britain has one of the world’s highest death tolls from the novel coronavirus. The country has reported more than 309,000 infections and over 43,400 deaths.