Gangster Domenyk Noonan has scaled 100ft of Manchester's Big Wheel, beginning a protest on the roof of one of the carriages, in what he says is a protest against a police attempt to recall him to prison.
Operators of the Big Wheel in Piccadilly Gardens were forced to close the attraction at around 3.30pm, with some customers stranded in carriages.
Speaking to the Huffington Post UK from the top of the wheel in Piccadilly, Noonan said he had been threatened with arrest if he did not return to the home he was registered at, which was the house owned by a former partner he had recently separated from.
"If they're going to send me back to prison, I'll give them something to do it for," he said. "It is absolute pandemonium now, they've closed all the roads, they've moved the whole crowd back, stopped the buses and trams.
"There's people with children in the pods, they say they need to keep them there for health and safety reasons. They'll try and blame me for it."
About 300 people had gathered at the base of the wheel, with police and ambulance crews in attendance.
One onlooker told the Huffington Post UK that the scene had caused "madness" in the city centre. "He's got a huge bag, he's got food, he's in it for the long haul," he said.
"It's a huge wheel, you can see the whole of Manchester, and there are loads of people just stuck in the pods."
Noonan is currently free on licence serving a nine-and-a-half year sentence after a gun was found inhis car. His licence period will have been served on Friday.
"I wanted to do something big," he said, "and Piccadilly is as big as it gets in Manchester. I brought a bag up with me to stay here, but I've left it further down the wheel. It's alright climbing up, but when you look down, it's frightening."
Noonan has been dubbed 'Britain's most violent gangster', and reportedly sung lullabies to police killer Dale Creegan, but insisted at a lecture last week at Birmingham City University that he was a reformed gangster.