Solidarity demo held as six Kro 2 occupiers arrested

Article published: Monday, March 19th 2012

Dozens held a solidarity demonstration outside the disused Kro 2 restaurant earlier today following the arrest of six activists who occupied the site in protest against anti-squatting laws and what protestors call “the corporate takeover” of central Manchester.

One of the banners hung inside Kro 2 by occupiers. Photograph via

Activists occupied the site on Sunday evening, hanging banners with slogans including “not another chain store” and “every little hurts”, claiming the empty restaurant may be converted to a Tesco chain store. The demonstrators argue a rising “dominance of big businesses at a local, national and international level”, including the strong prevalence of corporate chains in Manchester, places increasing pressure on communal public spaces.

Property management company Bruntwood, the landlords for the site, declined to comment on whether there are any future plans for the building but told MULE the current lease is still held by the owners of Kro 2. The Manchester-based restaurant chain’s website says the site is “currently closed for refurbishment”.

Early Monday afternoon police officers forced entry to the site and arrested four men and two women on “suspicion of criminal damage”. Around 50 protestors gathered outside waving anti-Tesco placards before a group of 40 moved up Oxford Road to demonstrate outside Bootle Street police station near Manchester town hall to protest the arrests.

A Greater Manchester Police spokesperson said officers entered the property after they attended the address following reports of an intruder and “found that wooden fencing and a door had been damaged”.

Eyewitness Georgia Ashley argued the “forced entry and arrests were unlawful”, claiming that police had “no evidence that any of the six people who happened to be in the space at the time were responsible. It was just an excuse to get them out.”

Ashley, who was involved in the original protest but was not in the building at the time of the arrests, said protestors were there to challenge the “increasing corporate takeover of our city”, arguing that “as more and more identical chainstores are built, rents are going up and ordinary Mancunians are getting priced out.”

Protestors also objected to the conduct of the police. One of the original occupants said she was “angry”, and accused police of “unlawfully arresting people”. She also claimed that there had been no breaking and entering on the site, but protestors had been hanging banners instead.

“Earlier cops tried to bring in dogs, they said ‘oh perhaps there’s drugs here’ and they didn’t find anything”, she added.

Robert Taylor, a spokesperson for the group, said the demonstrators demanded “community spaces, not commercial space.” Ashley added that they wanted “ordinary people to ask the question, ‘Who runs Manchester? And in whose interests?’”

Clifford Cawthon and Richard Goulding

More: Local economy, Manchester, News, Policing


  1. Hi, if anyone involved in protest is reading, I’d be interested to know where they heard about Tesco’s plans. Rumours always have a root and I’d like to know if this one has any origin in fact.

    Comment by Tom on March 19, 2012 at 11:31 pm
  2. Well, now Kro and Bruntwood have tried to give the impression it ain’t going to Tescos, if it does they are targets for more protests. Having lots of sites helpfully labeled as such around the city it should be possible to stage protests which won’t get people arrested by simply going shopping wearing anti teeshirts, chalking on the pavement and the like. It ain’t just the banners, it’s the being seen and worry you cause the target.

    Comment by Susan Donimo on March 20, 2012 at 10:35 am
  3. ‘Ashley added that they wanted “ordinary people to ask the question, ‘Who runs Manchester? And in whose interests?’”’

    Ashley is presumably disappointed that at the moment those questions are only asked by clever people like him.

    Of course, it probably hasn’t occured to Ashley that ‘ordinary people’ seem to like Tesco, are quite capable of asking themselves all sorts of questions and don’t need patronising and elitist people like him protesting on their behalf or advising them where to shop.

    Comment by pete on March 21, 2012 at 3:37 pm
  4. Pete, quite a lot of ‘ordinary’ people don’t like Tesco, you should do some reading up on them and their unseemly practices, especially the one of buying up vacant land in order to prevent their competitiors building on it. And I presume it probably hasn’t occurred to you that ‘Georgia’ may just be a girls name…?

    Comment by Lynne from Glasgow on March 21, 2012 at 5:57 pm
  5. If quite a lot of ordinary people don’t like Tesco then why are anti-Tescos demos usually attended by the usual bunch of rentacrowd students and sometimes middle class people keen to keep their own little upmarket section of England, along with its expensive posh shops which nobody is ever stopped using even if a huge Tesco opens next door?

    Ordinary people have demonstrated that they like Tesco a lot by voluntarily going shopping there in their millions.

    I haven’t a clue if Tesco want to open a shop in the ex-Kro2, but if they do open one it’ll do very well because ordinary people will flock to it.

    Comment by pete on March 22, 2012 at 4:12 pm
  6. […] […]

    Pingback by EMERGENCY CALL OUT | OK Cafe Manchester on March 22, 2012 at 5:08 pm
  7. Good to see the boys in blue are getting on with some worthwhile ‘community policing’ i.e protecting the interests of some of the richest people in the NW – Chris Oglesby & dad! Saved them a few bob in security goons.

    Comment by The Dodger on March 22, 2012 at 9:07 pm
  8. Pete . You are one sad individual .

    Comment by Maggie Drooling Cabbage on March 27, 2012 at 1:02 pm
  9. Stick to the subject Maggie.

    Until I tell you I’m interested in your opinion of me assume I’m not.

    Comment by pete on March 30, 2012 at 9:38 pm
  10. Its clear to see you have little interest in anyones opinion other than your own pete. People who attend protests at Tesco aren’t ‘rented’-they are there because they want a society based around Equality as opposed to exploitation-Tesco trample all over small business and have little regard for local communities and local owned shops operating their. The people of Stoke Croft in Bristol showed how much they wanted Tesco bullying their way into that community when they rioted. Tesco want to exploit workers and give them as little in the way of Rights as possible- hence them being one of the leading companies to advertise for people through the oppressive Welfare to Work scheme as opposed to giving Full Time jobs with Full Time Workers Rights. ‘Millions of ordinary people flocking to Tesco’ isn’t something to be championed-its a sign of people being misinformed or conditioned to a ‘I’m alright jack’ society..

    Comment by LJ on April 2, 2012 at 4:13 pm
  11. […] fortnight ago, MULE reported on the arrest of six people who had squatted the disused Kro2 bar on Oxford Road against plans to turn the site into a Tesco – and more broadly against the steady […]

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  12. pete the protests are to raise awareness amongst the ‘ordinary people’ for the atrocities tescos commit. Just because lots of people are doing something doesn’t make it ethical or right and because people are students or middle class it doesnt make them wrong. Try using logic and facts in your arguments. For example tescos get products made by palastinian slaves, therefore if you buy food from tescos you are supporting slavery,so its ethical to boycot tescos.

    Comment by counz on April 15, 2012 at 5:09 pm
  13. Who brainwashed you , Pete ? Or are you a Tesco director ? Try getting out more, and seeing the real world .

    Comment by Maggie Drooling Cabbage on May 20, 2012 at 1:36 am
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