Police urges Brits to be ‘vigilant’ on terror during Christmas period
The Glade of Light Memorial was supposed to be fenced off ahead of its completion but some family members of the victims said they saw members of the public walking through the site. Two families said they had been left appalled after fencing around the memorial had been pulled down. Caroline Curry, from South Shields, lost her 19-year-old son, Liam from the terror attack.
She said one man had stood in the centre of the memorial and had been abusive when challenged.
She also told the BBC she had seen a woman vomit in the area and witnessed some people smoking drugs.
Claire Brewster, from Sheffield, lost her sister, Kelly, from the terror attack.
Ms Brewster, who was seriously injured from the event, said she found people moving the fencing on Sunday night in order to walk through.
Manchester: A picture of what the memorial will look like
Manchester: Two women reported the incident
She said on Twitter: "The Glade of Light is a beautiful tribute and it deserves complete respect and protection.
"Last night, amongst other things, I had to stand and argue with a grown man, apparently a member of the British Army, for him to stop trampling all over my sister's name on her part of the halo.
"We also had to move someone on from being sick and watch numerous others smoke weed or urinate right at the side of the memorial!
"Manchester please, I am begging you, treat this memorial as special!
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Manchester: The council has dispatched a security team
"Pay your respects when it’s open, please don’t disrespect our families."
After hearing of the incident, Manchester City Council said it dispatched a security team to keep the memorial safe overnight on Sunday.
Councillor Pat Karney, the council's city centre lead, said an investigation would be opened as a matter of urgency.
He said the council will assess what needs to be done going forward to keep the site secure.
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Manchester: The memorial will be opened next January
Manchester: A picture from the incident
Mr Karney added: "We are investigating the incident as a matter of urgency to find out exactly what happened, how the fencing came down in the first place, and what's needed to keep the site secure.
"The whole area is covered by CCTV and if footage shows it was due to the deliberate actions of mindless thugs rather than a problem with the fencing itself, we will pass this information on to the police.
"There can be no excuse for the kind of behaviour in and around the memorial site witnessed by the bereaved relatives last night.
"We utterly condemn this mindless and disrespectful behaviour and will not hesitate to take action against those involved."
The Glade of Light memorial is set to open next January.
Manchester: Mourners pledge their support
It includes a stone halo centrepiece with the names of 22 victims of the attack on May 22, 2017.