Saturday, June 26, 2010

Updated: G20 Provocateurs smash windows, clash with riot police

TORONTO — G20 protesters dressed like the anarchist group Black Bloc are smashing bank windows and have damaged a police cruiser as riot police defend Toronto's summit security zone.

Riot police armed with a tear gas cannon and gas masks are holding a line north of the zone.

Store front windows at a Starbucks have been smashed.

A roving pack of protesters, said to be part of the self-described anarchist group the Black Bloc, are running through the city with no police interference.

Riot police, however, are nearby, armed with tear gas cannons.

One protester has been seriously injured and was carried away by others.

EMS says at least three protesters received head injuries in a confrontation with riot police, and were bleeding but conscious.

The larger protest, meanwhile, continued along its route back to the Ontario legislature.

Ten thousand protesters were expected to gather on the grounds of the Ontario legislature today, but the city is being pelted with rain and early police estimates put the crowd at about 4,000.

The "People's First March" is being organized by an umbrella organization of labour unions.

Queen Street is the key watch point since the G20 security zone is just south of there and there has been talk protesters want to take a run at the steel and concrete barricades.

A wall of police on bicycles is holding the line at Queen, with riot police behind them and police on horseback further back.

A convoy of more than a dozen minivans carrying police is also moving into the area.

Police have said 5,100 officers from forces across the province have been tasked with protecting the summit.

Security has been pegged at $1 billion.

The large but seemingly peaceful crowd held banners reading "Save the planet, sink Harper" and "G20 Fascism."

Members of the Black Bloc are wearing their trademark black balaclavas.

Two people allegedly carrying "incendiary devices" were arrested near the protest before the march began. Reports say the two had so-called Molotov cocktails -- glass bottles filled with gasoline.

The Integrated Security Unit says there is no word of charges and would not specify what was seized from the pair.

On Friday almost 3,000 protesters marched through the city in a tense demonstration. Riot police aggressively moved into the crowd at one point and dragged a man into a building lobby, enraging the crowd.

Police held the crowd on University Avenue, far north of the security zone, before the protesters turned back.

At a Saturday morning news conference, the Toronto Community Mobilization Network said protesters intend to confront the heavily guarded security fence surrounding the summit site.


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4:40 p.m. Protesters attack police cars
G20 Protest_002 In the financial district. Chris Young/The Canadian Press
G20 Protest_003
In the financial district. Steve Russell/Toronto Star

4:34 p.m. Vandalism and violence at College and Yonge
They’re hurling the limbs of manequinnes nabbed outside a Footlocker and American Apparel. They’re ripping up G20 signs and targeting Zanzibar.
“This isn’t violence, this is vandalism against violent corporations. We did not hurt anybody, we did not target anybody,” said one protester. They say they’re targeting the companies responsible for the greatest oppression against people, companies that use sweat shops to create their products.
 Targeting Nike and Addidas as they move up Yonge. They’ve also smashed a Swiss Chalet, filled with staff and customers. They’re making their way to Gerard.
Police presence seems to be diminishing – they’re just trying to channel the crowd. Smashed a Money Mart. Cops up the road with riot gear. Numerous protestors did not bring their cell phones to the march for fear they were being tapped.
 Smashed a window at Bell store south of College, they’re hurling display cell phones into the crowd. Protestors are also using steel bars that hold up construction signs as a battering ram.
 Smashed a window at the Carlu. Protestors are breaking the bricks from the middle of the street median and hurling them.

 4:30 p.m. Outside police headquarters
A wall of police in riot gear has formed outside 40 College, police headquarters. People are hurling bricks and golf balls at them.
 Meanwhile, windows at the TD across the street are being smashed.  Police are filing out of two  buses and grabbing their shields from underneath. Protestors are showing compassion to pedestrians and the public.

4:27 p.m. DeBoer's attacked
Protesters created a big hole in a display window at DeBoer’s, the high-end furniture store on Yonge just south of College. An employee approached the hole and yelled “Stop it”; protesters yelled back, “Move back, honey. We don’t hate you, we just hate the company you work for.” She complied. Protesters also smashed windows at the nearby Bell store, then ransacked it and threw cellphones into the street.

4:24 p.m. Police move north on horseback
 20 officers on horseback are riding north on Yonge St. Two police coach buses have assembled at Yonge and Queen as the crowds move north.

 4:22p.m. 'Torontonians should be outraged'
Mayor David Miller in an interview with CP24: “We have thousands of people peaceably asserting their democratic right to speak up, and a small, relatively small group, probably a few hundred, mostly people who seem to be not from Toronto, come here to on all evidence commit deliberate acts of violence. I think every Torontonian should be outraged by that.”

4:21 p.m. Zanzibar attacked
A female protester shouted “f-you” in the direction of the Zanzibar strip club, then smashed its window with a baseball bat.
Protesters then began tearing down the letters on Zanzibar’s sign one by one.
They also smashed windows of American Apparel, sending mannequins spilling into the street; protesters  began ripping the mannequins apart.