Saturday, June 26, 2010

Toronto Welcomes the G20 Leaders with a Riot- Couple Police Cars Set on Fire

A group of black-clad protesters has raged through downtown Toronto, smashing windows, vandalizing businesses and burning two police cruisers in the heart of the city's financial district. link
The cruisers were set alight only blocks from a luxury hotel where the G20 leaders are set to meet later this evening.
The group had ap800_ap_cruiser1_100626_430241parently tried to break through the G20 security fence which was erected ahead of the summit and then scattered throughout the city core.
The violence escalated after a splinter group broke away from a large and peaceful group of protesters who marched ahead of the high-level meetings.
Latest developments:
  • Violent protesters scatter; wreak havoc in downtown Toronto
  • Reports of vandalism along Yonge Street
  • Police appear to be holding back from a full forceful clampdown
  • The Eaton Centre, the largest downtown mall, is locked down
Earlier, the black-clad protesters smashed up a police cruiser and smashed its windshield along Queen Street, as other demonstrators hurled bottles and sticks at a solid line of riot police.
As police donned gas masks and mounted units rode into the city's core on horses, the violent protesters lit garbage on fire and tipped over recycling containers. They also smashed vehicles in and grabbed stones from nearby homes.
News media vehicles were also targeted and vandalized.

Earlier on Queen Street, next to the MuchMusic building, the violent protesters attempted to break southward through a tight line of riot police.
As some in the crowd pelted police with water bottles, officers hit back and pushed the group northward, away from the downtown core.
Three protesters involved in the confrontation suffered injuries. According to reports from the scene, some were bleeding from the head.
Moments later, another standoff occurred a few blocks west, where protesters reportedly tossed sticks at police and chanted "let us go."
Earlier, thousands of demonstrators gathered at the Ontario legislature Saturday morning to hear speeches.
The march has forced officials to shut down many downtown subway stations and close off several main streets from traffic.
While protest organizers promised a family-friendly demonstration, a splinter group calling itself the "Get off the Fence contingent" has announced plans to break away from the main group and challenge the heavy security cordon around the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, where the G20 summit will begin Saturday afternoon.
Marchers plan to head south through the city's core on University Ave., head west on Queen St. and then north on Spadina Ave., to arrive back at Queen's Park to continue the rally.
In a news release, the splinter group said it plans to continue on to the summit site "to confront the self-proclaimed G20 leaders and the security apparatus that will have occupied our city. We will take back our city from these exploitative profiteers, and in the streets we will be uncontrollable."
The news release uses the word "militant" a number of times to describe the planned demonstration.
Around 1 p.m., two protesters were arrested near the downtown core and allegedly found with an "incendiary device." Unconfirmed reports from the scene said the pair was carrying Molotov cocktails.
As many as 10,000 people had been expected to take to the streets, but poor weather may dampen spirits.
Torontonians woke up to dark clouds and intermittent drizzle Saturday, and heavy showers carried on into the afternoon. An Environment Canada forecast predicted thunderstorms for later in the day.
On a hot and sunny day Friday, an estimated 2,000 people marched toward the security zone but were stopped by police in full riot gear. Police confirmed that two protesters were arrested, but no one was injured.
Afterward, an estimated 150 demonstrators set up a tent city at Allan Gardens to camp overnight.
CTV's Scott Laurie said despite organizers' promises of a peaceful march, many people left their children at home over fears that the protest could turn violent.

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