More than 300 G20 protesters charged by early Sunday morning with continued arrests, police say

CanWest News Service
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Riot police stand guard as a police car burns after activists and protesters clashed with police while marching along the streets of downtown Toronto during the G20 Summit on Saturday, June 26, 2010.  Photo by The Canadian Press

The number of protesters arrested has climbed to more than 300 and officers expect more arrests will be made following a riot early Sunday morning.
By 6:15 a.m., police said more than 300 people have been charged and a long line of protesters were also waiting to be processed, said Integrated Security Unit spokesman Wendy Drummond.
She said each protester would face a variety of charges, and could be held in custody depending on their violations and criminal history.
Only about 40 arrests were made between 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday, but by 3 a.m. Sunday, the ISU confirmed arrests of more than 200 protesters who rampaged through the city's downtown core all day Saturday and into Sunday.
Drummond told Canwest News Service that she was aware of more "people who want to go beyond the peaceful protest and have violence."
"We will continue to support those who protest peacefully in the downtown core today, but these groups that committed these criminal acts are not protesters. Do not associate yourself with them if your intent is to not commit criminal offences," she warned the public.
"We are in it for the long haul," she said. The ISU is composed of thousands of officers from across the country.
Drummond said police have used ARWEN launchers, which shoot a special kind of bean bag or plastic projectiles, and tear gas against protesters.
There are reports that a large group of protesters wearing backpacks and balaclavas were marching near Queen St. East and River Street by 2 a.m.
A crowd of about 200 people chanted outside the Eastern Avenue temporary G20 detention centre nearby.
A small group of black-clad protesters were surrounded at a downtown intersection around 10 p.m. ET Saturday.
A police line in full riot gear began marching at the group, banging their batons on their shields, in hopes of preventing more protesters from moving towards the G20 security fence still located blocks away.
The mood was tense as a small number of protesters yelled obscenities. Helicopters could be heard overhead.
The officers loudly chanted: "Move, move," as they marched.
One older man was pushed by police out of the way as he was seeking shelter from the pouring rain.
Police were telling everyone to "leave the area," but few were going.
This surround-and-disperse-the-crowd tactic was used many times by police Saturday.
The day began peacefully but by midafternoon, anarchists hiding within the 10,000 or so protesters stepped things up, hurling objects such as golf balls, burning police cars and smashing windows, then darting away - sometimes to change out of their black garb in an effort to throw police off.
Holding them off were some 5,500 police officers in full riot gear and on horseback who made repeated charges at the rioters in an effort to push them northwards and away from the downtown core where the leaders of the G20 have gathered for their annual summit.
As the night wore on, police continued to make arrests, darting forward into the crowds to grab rioters and pull him them back behind police lines. The Integrated Security Unit confirmed that 130 arrests were made as of 9:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.
At a news conference Saturday night, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair said that three police cruisers were destroyed and that tear gas had been used after a warning was issued.
Blair spokesman Mark Pugash told Global News that one rubber bullet was fired on Saturday.
Blair said police have a good idea of who many of the rioters are and promised that "the persons responsible will be held accountable."
Blair said the rioters hid themselves among other protesters as part of their tactics to conduct violence and destruction.
"They deliberately provoked violent confrontation to draw the naive and the curious into their mob mentality. They used their numbers of a mob to avoid detection."
Earlier in the day the rioters burned at least three police cars, vandalized stores and banks and damaged media vehicles.
The crowd cheered when a charred police car was towed away.
While most of the protesters were content to sing, wave placards and dance, a smaller group, estimated at roughly 100, were doing more serious damage, smashing windows at banks and shops in the downtown, as well as attacking two media vehicles.
Dressed in helmets, gas masks and body armour, police appeared to have successfully blocked the protesters from walking down toward the Toronto Convention Centre, the site of the G20 summit.
Toronto Mayor David Miller reacted angrily to the riots.
"I just want to say to Torontonians directly - please stay calm, don't be disturbed by these images (on TV)," said the mayor.
He said the rioters were "criminals" whose only intent on Saturday was to cause damage and be violent.
"They are criminals and they will be handled by the criminal justice system."
Dimitri Soudas, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's director of communications, condemned the violence.
"Free speech is a principle of our democracy. But the thugs that prompted violence earlier today represent in no way shape or form the Canadian way of life," Soudas said.
A spokesman for Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, Chris McCluskey, said the minister is being continuously updated "on the destructive and violent activity taking place in downtown Toronto.
"These images are truly shocking to Canadians. Toronto is a world-class city, and the Government of Canada condemns these acts of violence by groups of radical protestors."
NDP Leader Jack Layton said the peaceful gathering was an important expression of concern about global issues. "The vandalism is criminal and totally unacceptable."
Blair assured Toronto residents the police will keep their city safe and he said the force is committed to maintaining security for the summit. He said he expects that rioters will continue to cause trouble overnight and on Sunday and that police are ready to act.
He said people are being asked to clear the streets so that rioters cannot hide among them.
"While we are doing this we are endeavoring to respect the rights of all our citizens of lawful peaceful assembly while dealing with criminals who are smashing windows and assaulting people and burning cars."

Organizations: Canwest News Service, Global News, Toronto Convention Centre

Geographic location: Toronto, Queen St. East, River Street Eastern Avenue Canada

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  • Fred
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    No need to waste taxpayers money on these hooligans. Just fly them up to Baffin Island, drop them off and go back and check on them in 30 days. If they survive then they can pay restitution for the damages they incurred. They can earn the money by polishing policeman's boots on the corner of Yonge and Bloor but only work during the winter months.

  • Fred
    July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    No need to waste taxpayers money on these hooligans. Just fly them up to Baffin Island, drop them off and go back and check on them in 30 days. If they survive then they can pay restitution for the damages they incurred. They can earn the money by polishing policeman's boots on the corner of Yonge and Bloor but only work during the winter months.