Police came under attack in Piccadilly Gardens as officers dealt with a group of around 100 fighting school children, GMP have revealed.
A 16-year-old has been arrested – and police said CCTV would be analysed to hold others ‘accountable’, the force added.
The trouble broke out at 5pm on Friday, as thousands of workers went home for the night.
Police said ‘missiles’ were thrown at officers and ‘some police equipment has been damaged beyond repair’.
Superintendent Helen Critchley said: “I acknowledge that a lot of those involved last night are young, and may have been easily swept up in what was happening.
“However due to the disruption caused, we will be working to identify all those involved using CCTV as well as officer’s body worn video footage, and hold them accountable.
“It’s worth noting that a number of those involved were wearing school uniform at the time.”
There have been no reports of any injuries.
As a result, a dispersal order was put in place around Piccadilly Gardens.
The order gives constables and police community support officers the power to disperse crowds and individuals from an area to prevent public nuisance.
Under the power, officers can ask troublemakers to leave and not return to the area covered by the order.
It will remain in force until Sunday evening.
In a statement, GMP said: “Police were called to Piccadilly Gardens at 5pm last night, Friday, to reports of a disturbance, involving a large number of young people.
“Officers attended, and found that a group of around 100 young people, mostly school children, were involved in fighting.
“During the incident, a number of missiles were thrown at officers, and some police equipment has been damaged beyond repair.
“A 16-year-old was arrested on suspicion of affray and has been released under investigation.”
Supt Critchley added: “This kind of anti-social behaviour, which caused a huge amount of disruption for members of the public trying to get home on a Friday, as well as businesses, will not be tolerated.
“If you or anyone you know may have seen anything that could help with our enquiries, or have CCTV or dash-cam footage of the area at the time, please get in touch with police.”
Quote log number 2054 of 14/01/22 either via LiveChat on GMP’s website, 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
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