Police are probing whether the mass brawl which erupted in Piccadilly Gardens was racially motivated.
Officers attended shortly after the fighting had stopped, at around 3pm on Saturday.
They say there were no reports of any injuries, either to those involved or passers by.
However detectives have now launched an investigation into the trouble and say they will scour CCTV footage in a bid to track down the culprits.
The probe will also include looking into whether the trouble was racially motivated.
Chief Inspector Faz Zaman, from GMP’s North Manchester Division, said: “This was a serious disturbance that took place in front of shoppers and families.
“It is completely unacceptable that anyone believes they can behave in this way in the middle of a busy city centre.
“There is no evidence that this was a pre-planned fight.
“I have now put together a team of detectives to go through all available evidence, including CCTV footage, and to follow-up on inquiries."
Outraged Pat Karney, Manchester city council’s city centre spokesman, said they would seek to use civil powers to stop the thugs from entering the centre.
He blasted: “We have three, good quality CCTV cameras on the gardens so we should be able to identify these people and track them down.
“Hopefully they will be arrested and brought to justice.
“And if we can, I would like to see them banned from Manchester city centre all together. We just can’t this sort of thing going on in Manchester.
“We are opening the children’s playground in the gardens in the next fortnight. We are trying to make it more family friendly
“These people have let Manchester down and I want the strongest possible action taken.”
Witnesses are asked to call police on 0161 856 3221 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
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