Six squatters arrested for attempting to occupy Manchester’s Kro Bar in protest against planned Tesco

By Darren Heath

Six protestors who were attempting a squat at Oxford Road’s former Kro Bar, were arrested yesterday.

The arrests came after the building was occupied in protest of its planned conversion into a Tesco’s, and took place shortly after 8pm.

The protest started at noon with people handing out flyers and putting up posters around the building.

The flyer read: “By squatting this building we our [sic] attempting to wrestle part of the city centre back from the corporations and back into community control.” 

One of the protestors, Sofia, who did not give her second name, alleged that the police broke down a fire door to gain access to the squat and, once in, became verbally abusive. 

She claimed that one officer said the arrests were being made under the ‘get a job law’.

Speaking to MM, she said: “This was illegal – there was no evidence of any criminal damage.

“They shouldn’t have been arrested.”

She added: “We wanted to turn this place into be a community centre, a place for local people. 

“We were going to start cooking food and handing it out for free, you know, something really positive and community based. 

“But of course they stopped us and it doesn’t look like we’ll get back in.”

Another protestor, Mani, who also didn’t want to give his second name, said that he came to the site after hearing of the arrests to show support for the protest.  He said he wanted to make people aware of what was going on, claiming the group had handed out over 2000 flyers.     

He said: “This place could be a community centre rather than another Tesco – there’s too many Tesco’s around here. 

“They [the police] let us occupy a building just around the corner, but as soon as we enter this one we get arrested.”

Whalley Range resident, Ashley Metcalfe, 25, was at the gathering.

He said: “Instead of Tesco coming in why can’t we accommodate for the homeless. 

“This will just accommodate for the students, who’ll come in and take all the part-time jobs, why not accommodate for the people of Manchester. 

“There’s nothing here for us.  All that’s left is to sign up at the job centre.”

Inspector Mike Booth, of Greater Manchester Police, said there was evidence of criminal damage.

He said: “A call was received at 8am with reports of an intruder.  Officers went to the scene and found the door broken and six people inside: four men and two women, who remain in custody.”

He was unable to give any further information. 

PROTEST POSTER: Flyer on window of former Kro Bar, in protest to planned Tesco

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