Riot breaks out in Vancouver

By DHARM MAKWANA, QMI Agency


A smashed and red paint soaked display window is seen at the downtown Vancouver Hudson's Bay Co., store. It is reported that protesters did the damage and then left the area. Police are investigating and looking for the people responsible for this damage on Saturday, Feb 13, 2010. (ANDRE FORGET/QMI Agency)



An anti-Olympic march through downtown Vancouver turned violent when protesters started demolishing the HBC window display on Georgia Street.

Protesters also smashed other windows at surrounding businesses with newspaper boxes and hammers.

Red paint was seen on the windows and some nearby vehicles.

Vancouver police who had followed the march called for the crowd control unit who arrested dozens in a group of about 200 protesters when the situation escalated, witnesses say.

Pedestrians ran for cover and crying children nearby could be heard crying.

The remaining 150-or-so protesters were allowed to continue marching along West Georgia Street to the city's West End.

Vancouver police held a line at Robson and Jervis Streets where protesters stopped and celebrated their demonstration with music and dance.

Behind the apparently benign group of 30 dancing protesters, about two dozen people wearing balaclavas huddled and passed joints.

One among the group set fire to a Canadian flag and called for an end to the Olympics on unceded native land.

After a tense 20 minutes, police wearing face shields and carrying batons moved forward towards the crowd.

Some escaped through side alleys but the majority were divided into two groups on the 1300 block of Robson Street.

Officers wearing riot gear surrounded one group while the other was kept behind a line of bicycle police.

Those surrounded by police on all sides threw up peace signs with their hands and chanted defiantly, "The people united will never be defeated."

The group was divided and pushed to the north sidewalk and then west on Robson Street where they eventually dispersed.

Though police have yet to issue an official statement this reporter witnessed two men in their 20s being ushered into police cars.

The protesters are believed to have regrouped and were heading to Stanley Park as of 11 a.m.

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