Angry row breaks out as ‘squatter‘ interrupts Remembrance Sunday silence with fireworks

‘Squatter‘ interrupts Remembrance Sunday silence with fireworks fired through a window before furious mourners hurl a TRAFFIC CONE at him and police drag him away for his own safety

A ‘squatter‘ who disrupted a Remembrance Sunday minute‘s silence by launching fireworks from a disused pub was led away by police after furious mourners hurled traffic cones at him.  

As the Last Post played and hundreds of people stood in silence to pay their respects at 11am at the cenotaph in Eccles, Salford, a series of fireworks exploded.

They seemed to have been launched by Stuart Potts, 38, a member of a group of squatters, who threw them from the first floor window of the disused Albert Edward pub across the road from the cenotaph.

Dressed in army-style fatigues, the father-of-four then appeared at the window to exchange insults with the furious veterans and mourners who had gathered below.  

The crowd of angry veterans shouted ‘Get him out!‘ and tried to break the door of the pub down, with others attempting to climb up to the window.

A lone police officer stood blocking the door shouting into his police radio as he struggled to hold the crowd back from getting inside, before reinforcements arrived.

When Mr Potts appeared at the window to remonstrate with the crowd, a number of traffic cones were launched at him, forcing him to retreat back inside.

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A second man then appeared at the window, appearing to spit at the crowd, who shouted for him to come down.

Police reinforcements soon arrived and the man, believed to be Mr Potts according to locals, was handcuffed with his head held down. 

He was then rushed out of the pub to a waiting police car which quickly sped away, protecting him from the wrath of the crowd.

The angry gathering remained at the scene afterwards with more people, who appeared to be squatting at the pub, left inside, as a squad of police officers guarded the entrance. 

Mr Potts has hit the headlines several times in recent times. 

He runs the Saving People Shelter Project and previously moved squatters into another Eccles pub in July. 

Mr Potts urged Salford council to let the squatters remain in the derelict pub, despite an evacuation order. 

In October, footage showed the moment security staff forced the group of squatters out of the pub. 

Mr Potts remonstrated with the officials, but was unable to stop the eviction. 

Today‘s events suggest that Mr Potts and the squatters had moved into another derelict pub, the Albert Edward.  

Father-of-four Mr Potts revealed in 2017 that he was evicted from his flat after having a breakdown and losing his family.

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Together with his then-girlfriend Georgia Twemlow, Mr Potts set up camp beside a canal in Eccles, .

The makeshift home boasted a sofa and two chairs and a bed thrown out by a furniture dealer, as well as a tent to shelter from the rain. 

Several people condemned Mr Potts after he was identified. 

Robert Swan said: ‘Your children will be so ashamed of you for your actions today. Think about what you did and how disrespectful this was to those whom lost their lives fighting to give oxygen thiefs like you a safe country to grow in.‘

Paul Hills added: ‘What a shameful thing you did today! I should love to hear a good reason why..but you know there isn‘t one, dont you!!‘

One man wrote: ‘How sad to see Remembrance Sunday service marred by a complete idiot.‘

He claims to have seen a man sitting on a window at the Albert Edward pub facing the memorial drinking from a can.

‘Then at 11am as people observed the two minute silence he lets off a rocket which exploded above the people gathered there,‘ the man continued.

‘Several servicemen tried to force their way into the pub and luckily the police stopped them, no doubt for their own safety.

‘Further ugly scenes ensued with traffic cones being hurled from the pub, one hitting a policeman.

‘He was restrained and taken away by the police but the situation remains tense with police on guard outside the pub.‘

One woman said: ‘Safe to say I am disgusted!

‘Got to the cenotaph to pay respect for all those who fought for us and gave us the freedom we have today.

‘From those who fought in the world wars to those who fought like my dad and those still fighting today, for it to be completely ruined by people firing fireworks into the crowd showering members of the public with embers and sparks from the fireworks.

‘Dogs have been left petrified and the Eccles community in shock, very disappointed and let down by people‘s lack of respect and disregarded for people‘s safety and feelings towards such a sentimental day.‘

A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police said: ‘Shortly after 11.05am today (Sunday 10 November 2019), police were called to reports of a disturbance at a pub on Church Street in Eccles.

‘Officers attended and a 38-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of a public order offence. He has been taken to custody for questioning.

‘Initial enquiries suggest that a firework was thrown through the window of the pub.

‘There are no reported injuries.‘         

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