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06/26/2010

Live blog: Saturday June 2

5:55pm. Inside the Security Zone What secret law?

Police inside the security fence don't seem to be exercising the "secret" law that allows them to arrest people coming five metres from the fence - at least they aren't using it for the non-violent protestors. A French-Canadian woman dressed in a Mexican wrestling mask and pink superhero costume just put her fingers through the fence to ask a cop in a gas mask for directions to the subway.

5:52 pm. City Hall Outrage 

Toronto Mayor David Miller tells press conference he's outraged at what's happened in city streets today. "A number of people intent on committing violent acts did exactly that ... I want to express my anger and my outrage at those acts," he said.

5:50 p.m. Inside the Security Zone

Some officers inside fence now removing gas masks

5:47 p.m. Sit-down showdown

Sitdown
Protesters sit on University Ave. Robyn Doolittle/Toronto Star

5:31 p.m. Tear gas not used, police say

A half-hour after confirming that tear gas had been deployed, police are now retracting that statement. Const. Tim Garland, from the ISU media unit, said that there has not been any tear gas used in the city.

5:30 p.m. Trying to recover

A man and woman are on the sidewalk, flushing their eyes after being hit by pepper spray.

"It will stop burning soon," someone said.

They were part of a group sitting in the median when officers moved in.

Medic
Protesters get treatment for wounds. Robyn Doolittle/Toronto Star

5:23p.m. Queen's Park Whom do you stand on guard for?

About 50 protesters at Queen's Park sing Oh Canada and then yell at police: "Whom do you stand on guard for?"

The Star’s Jennifer Yang says the protesters were "not doing anything" when they were confronted by the officers aside from sitting on the median. The officers, on bicycle, hit the protesters with their front wheels; they subsequently sprayed them directly in the eyes with pepper spray and hit them with batons. The protesters are now attempting to clear their eyes using a white solution they say is a mixture of milk and magnesium water.

About 30 people who were sitting on the median at University and College were confronted by police, who closed in from the north. Some were pepper sprayed, and others were hit with batons; one man on a bicycle was pushed off it, and one man is bleeding from the head. At least one other protester is bleeding. After the confrontation began, some of the protesters started singing O Canada.

5:20 p.m. Four University Ave. hospitals locked down

Mt. Sinai, Toronto General, Sick Kids and Princess Margaret are in lockdown because of the protests.

"It’s mainly precautionary," said Mt. Sinai spokesperson Jackie DeSouza.

The hospital went into lockdown around 4:30 p.m. and will remain so indefinitely.

"We have security teams monitoring the situation," DeSouza said.

Security officers are posted at doors and questioning people as they come in, and visitors are allowed to leave.

5:16 pm. Downtown Toronto Ride Anyone

It appears the British Prime Minister David Cameron wasn't prepared to travel from Huntsville to Toronto so he hitched a ride with U.S. President Barack Obama.
The Star's Allan Woods passes on this White House pool report about the U.S. President's landing in Toronto.
"Marine 1 (Obama's helicopter) wheels down in Toronto at 1:35pm at landing zone just beneath the space needle and next Metro Toronto Convention Center and Steam Whistle Brewing. POTUS (Obama) and PM Cameron walked briskly under umbrellas to motorcade."

The "space needle" is the CN Tower. POTUS is media and U.S. Secret Service slang for President of the United States.

5:13 p.m. Inside the fence

A new development from inside the perimeter – police inside the fence have suited up in gas masks.

There’s still no sign of any protesters at the fence.

5:06 p.m. Along College St.

Several tear gas canisters have been thrown, but all of them have landed too far away from protesters to have an impact; one protester yelled, “Everyone, stay where you are, the tear gas isn’t working.”

However, riot police have surrounded protesters from the east, south and west, their ranks recently bolstered by a bus full of officers.

One protester said “let’s go home,” and others agreed with the sentiment.

People are looting a police van that has been smashed at College and University. Officers with shields have blocked the south and west corners of the street. Officers on horseback are now moving in from the east. Someone has been injured and is being taken to hospital by a fellow demonstrator.

5:05 p.m. Hospitals locked down

Three University Ave. hospitals – Mt. Sinai, Toronto General and Princess Margaret – are in lockdown because of the protests.

 “It’s mainly precautionary,” said Mt. Sinai spokesperson Jackie DeSouza. The hospital went into lockdown around 4:30 p.m. and will remain so indefinitely. “We have security teams monitoring the situation,” DeSouza said.

Security officers are posted at doors and questioning people as they come in, and visitors are allowed to leave.

5:04 p.m. Some protesters leave
Some protesters are walking away from the scene. A line of riot officers is marching toward University Ave. on College St., but the officers are ignoring the protesters standing on the sides of the street, appearing to be heading to a specific destination.

 5:01 pm. Inside the Security Zone Fence

More heavily armed police are now showing up inside the security zone. Police are standing on the railway bridge that crosses Lower Simcoe south of Front St. and they are also spreading out along the outside of the southern part of the fence on Lower Simcoe.

Police who just showed up in front of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre entrance look like they're from the SWAT team.

Mtcc
Steve Tustin/Toronto Star

5 p.m. A sickly sweet smell

 Among the hundreds of protesters at Yonge and Adelaide was one holding a sign saying “Free Mark Emery,” referring to the Canadian marijuana-legalization activist who is in custody in the U.S.

 As the protester went by, so did the strong smell of marijuana.

4.59 p.m. Shots fired

Intersection of University Ave. and College St. Two shots were fired, Jesse McLean reports. There was confusion. Then three more shots were fired. No one seemed to be hit.

People moved out of the intersection. Then the people wearing black clothes huddled close together on a patch of grass northwest corner of intersection,, changed out of their black clothes.

They are wearing street clothes. They vanished. A line of 15 police, police holding their shields up, tiptoed forward with shields in air. Some people are lobbing bottles at them.

Some demontrators were chanting: no more tar sands.

Changing clothes _605
Jennifer Yang Photos/Toronto Star

Left behind clothes _606

4:57 p.m. Tear gas fired

“Tear gas has been used near University and College,” said ISU spokesperson Nina Snyder. “We don’t have confirmation on who deployed it – we don’t know if it was police or protesters.”

4.56 p.m. At University and College

The people in black are just finishing vandalizing what they think is a undercover police car – smashed front windshield and stuck a black flag into the windshield - kicked side mirrors.

Police aren’t doing anything. They are standing here and watching. There are lots of civilians – hangers on watching this. They may be protestors left over from the march. They are not taking part in the destruction.

We are running now, reports The Star's Joanne Wong. I’m not sure why.

 4:50 p.m.Queen and University Anit-media slogans

 The Star's Dave Rider reports that a CBC reporter was the target of about 200 black-clad protesters marching east.

 CBLT reporter Michael Dick had just finished reporting live on the south side of Queen St. West University as the protesters started hurling rocks and bricks.

 “I felt something whiz by my head,” a shaken Dick told the Star about five minutes after the attack. Pointing at a camera operator, Dick said: “He yelled ‘We’re under attack’ and I tucked in behind the vehicle. They were throwing bricks and other things.”

 The protesters were yelling “Distorting the truth” and other anti-media slogans, he said. The big side window at the back of the passenger side was smashed in, a brick visible on the seat. The van’s back window was also smashed. The camera operator said it was done with a large stone.

Just east of them, on the north side of Queen St. W. in front of Osgoode Hall, another CBC minivan appeared abandoned, with the driver’s side front window smashed in.

4:50 pm. Spadina Ave and Richmond St. Why protest?

 At Spadina Ave. and Richmond St. at about 2 p.m., where protesters drummed and faced riot police on foot and horseback, the Star asked one woman why she was there.

Pulling on a bandana, as were many of the protesters around her, as a riot officer on horseback aimed at a tear gas gun at the loud, chanting crowd, Agnes, 33, said she had to show her opposition to the G20 gathering.

 “The G20 should not be in Toronto, in the downtown streets that have been blocked off,” said Agnes, a language teacher would declined to give her last name. “They built a fence that is a violation of our human rights. Toronto is a centre for activism and there are some hardliners who are not going to back down when the police move forward,” she said, eyeing the riot police.

 4:48 p.m. Along College St. near Bay

People – about 50 to 100 - dressed in black smashing windows.

 Most of their with faces covered; they are carrying bandanas and sticks. They’re pulling newspaper boxes and throwing them into street; they are pulling bricks from sidewalk planters and hurling them in windows. Police - in masks, helmets and shields - aren’t doing anything.

 A few hundred hangers on are following the group smashing windows.

4:45 p.m. Jazz fest reports no cancellations yet tonight .

They are hoping the riot will die down. The Club Django Sexet of Toronto is about to soundcheck for their 5 p.m. show at Nathan Phillips Square mainstage tent. Piano legend Herbie Hancock is scheduled for 8 p.m. at same venue.

 4:43 p.m. Yonge and Adelaide

 Hundreds of protesters went nose-to-nose with officers at Yonge and Adelaide Sts., until police called in reinforcements, reports Peter Edwards.

 With a much greater police presence – a line of officers is blocking Adelaide west of Yonge, four or five thick – the crowd of 400 is now at a standoff with them. Protesters are carrying signs and flags, and banging in drums, and making “peace” or “victory” signs with their hands.

4:40 p.m. Police headquarters

 Protesters smashed windows at police headquarters. Nearby riot officers did not respond. There is an evident divide in the motives of the violent protesters. Some are seeking only to vandalize institutions, such as banks and stores, while others seek to damage any property they encounter. As one man attempted to flip a BMW parked near police headquarters, someone attempted to stop him, saying, “That’s not our enemy.” He responded, “These are our enemies.”

4:40 p.m. Protesters attack police cars


On Queen Street.

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.

YangStore windows 033
Jennifer Yang/Toronto Star

4:16 p.m. City Hall says, 'Stay calm'

Mayor David Miller tells Torontonians: "Stay Calm. There is significant police presence downtown."

4:16 p.m. Protest goes north

 The protesters are heading further north up Yonge St. towards Yonge Dundas Square. They’re becoming less discerning about the businesses they’re targeting.

They started smashing glass at banks, Starbucks, and McDonald’s, but have now turned to businesses like Popeye’s and Urban Outfitters.

 Every 10 seconds or so there’s a cavalcade of noise and an eruption of cheers from the crowd accompanying the sound of broken glass.

 4:14 p.m. "Middle of a riot"

Shoppers outside the Eaton Centre are frightened. One scared woman on her cellphone says: "We're in the middle of a riot."

 4:12p.m. Just outside the fence

 About 20 riot police on horseback just trotted east on Wellington just outside the fence. Didn't appear to be in a hurry.

4:11 p.m. Bay and Adelaide

 Hundreds of demonstrators and onlookers are congregating at Bay and Adelaide. Officers have put on gas masks and are shouting for people to back up.


4:10 p.m. Fire in the distance

FIRE behind the line031
Randy Risling/Toronto Star

4:09 p.m. Cop car smashed Cop car029
Randy Risling/Toronto Star

4:06 pm. Dundas and Yonge

Toronto Eaton Centre has declared a lock down and all the stores in the downtown mall are closing. Officials at the mall are asking everyone to leave through the doors on the Dundas side through Canadian Tire.

As the building was being evacuated, Star reporter Joanne Wong was told that the reason for the lock down was because of the protest and the demonstrations involving the G20.

4:05 p.m. No tear gas, police say

Toronto Police Const. Wendy Drummond says tear gas has not been used at any point yet during the protest.

 4:03 p.m. Smoke fills financial district

The police car set on fire is slowly exploding now; it is popping every now and then. The mob was trapped on the west, south and north, so everyone ran east away from the car. Smoke is whipping through the financial district.

One woman with a megaphone yelled: ”Violence is not the answer.” The mob is yelled obscenities at her. “They’re no better than the G20,” she retorts.

4:01 p.m. Police wall off intersection

 Police have walled off King and Yonge. The cops are moving up Yonge. Medics are running around, screaming “Is anyone hurt?”

3:57 p.m.

I hear people say we're headed to Dundas Square. Everyone walking north on Yonge St; the goal of reaching the fence has been abandoned, seemingly.

3:54 p.m. Very big gun

Biggun
Riot police at Queen St. just east of Spadina Ave. Roger Gillespie/Toronto Star

3:52 p.m.: Running toward Yonge
As black smoke from a police car on fire fills the air, protesters yell “it’s going to blow, it’s going to blow” and begin running toward Yonge, where officers await.

But the officers retreat as the group approaches, and the group heads north on Yonge, shouting “take the streets!”

3:51 p.m. Financial District Chemicals and smoke in the air

The Star's Robyn Doolittle reports ambulances, fire trucks and about 30 police vans are speeding along Adelaide towards Bay. The air smells like chemicals and smoke, as far away as Duncan.

 3:49 p.m. Smoke is getting darker

 Flames are whipping out of the burning police car and the smoke is getting darker by the second. The car is sitting in the middle of the intersection of Bay and King Sts. The car is going to blow soon. Riot cops on horses are staying close by.

 3:48 p.m. Police point of view

 Toronto Police Const. Wendy Drummond said a minority of protestors has broken off from the main marchers and begun smashing storefronts and overturning mailboxes.

“It has changed drastically. What was a peaceful protest has branched off into violence. We’ve got people out there destroying police vehicles, businesses and city property. It is no longer a peaceful protest,” she said.

“The vast majority have been peaceful and in all our communications with them and all our planning, the vast majority have expressed to us the desire to have a peaceful protest,” she said.

 Drummond said police will now use all their resources available to protect the public’s safety and private property. “It’s our mandate to protect people and property and this is something we’re going to continue to do,” she said.

 “We have shown enormous professionalism and restraint throughout this protest and will continue to do so, but there’s been lots of provocation. There’s taunting, there’s been things thrown at (police) and we’ve had police vehicles damaged.”

Drummond said police are encouraging peaceful protestors to separate from the faction that’s committing the acts of vandalism. “If you’re planning to be peaceful, remove yourself from the violence that is happening downtown,” she said. “There are other peaceful protests on throughout the city.”

3:49 p.m.

Police car on fire at Bay and King. Police moving in.

Cop carFIRE030
Jennifer Yang/Toronto Star

3:46 p.m. King and Bay

At King and Bay, protesters have begun putting gas masks on; "tear gas, tear gas," some are saying to others. Five police vehicles in the area, two of which are vans, have been smashed, and one has the word "Murderer" written on it in orange. The protesters briefly retreated, apparently spooked by something, but are now once again proceeding south toward the fence.

3:45 p.m. Mood turns ugly

Cops inside security fence now donning riot helmets. Mood no longer easy-going.

Star reporter Brendan Kennedy just ordered by cops very forcefully to move back away from fence.

"It's for your own safety. Trust me."

3:42 p.m.: Protest reaches King

The protesters are running now, at King; they have smashed another police car at Bay and King and are throwing rocks in every direction. Riot police are present, but not in an organized line.

3:41 p.m. Inside the fence

They just turned back delegates trying to leave the area. No one out or in.

3:40 p.m. Security lockdown

Security fence gates just closed. Security zone is locked down.

3:39 pm Broken Windows and Graffiti

Protesters have broken the windows at Starbucks at Bay and Queen and the Hudson's Bay and Company, reports the Star's Jayme Poisson. The renegade protesters have also spraypainted the words "Class War" across the Scotia Bank. They have also spraypainted across the Hudson's Bay sign on the facade of the store: "No Corporate Greed".

3:30 p.m. When it turned violent

Groups were still crowded at the intersection of Spadina Ave. near Queen St. W. when protesters began smashing a police vehicle, with an officer inside. Officers scared the protesters away with batons and managed to get the officer out. The protesters continued to smash the vehicle before heading east.

No specific group targeted the police cruiser. Protesters wearing black have broken a Nike business window, and other business windows. There was a discussion and the protesters are now going back to Spadina, most clad in black in gas masks.

Protesters are breaking windows, destroying commercial business windows. They are chanting "against police, against prison." They are refusing photos by media. Nike store window was destroyed. Foot Locker was also targeted.

Protesters are also dragging mailboxes into the streets to block them. It is beginning to get unruly.

The black-clad protesters are leaving independent shops alone. They hit Subway hard, throwing pieces of cement and reusing them again. CIBC was just smashed. Others are tagging walls and moving on. People are blocking cameras’ lenses.

There is a man with a hammer, he is taking out windows.

Comments

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Ohhhh, I see...we are unhappy about the way the "leaders" are so "criminal" that we go out and act like a bunch of "f***in morons" Cowards, opportunists and idiots. I am embaressed by this Blac Bloc...Voiceless and actionless until today...then they strike out like children. take off the mask, then act out...pathetic.

Hey I love the labour movement and the left wing Star .This is what you breed .Toronto is not Canada

The only thing these vandals are accomplishing is destroying a city that so many people live in and depend on. They are not hurting the large corporations they've targeted by smashing windows, I'm sure the companies can afford to replace them.

I wonder how they would react to Torontonians going to their homes and smashing their windows. I think their reactions might be very similar to ours.

I hope the police arrest all these thugs and losers. I see communist signs and banners and I'd like to see those carrying these banners try to pull of something like this in China or North Korea which are communist paradises of freedom to the people. Idiots! Why is tear gas not being used more and why does it seem the police is disorganized?

These "anarchists" all live a pretty privileged life. They have no idea what real hardship is. If this city and country is so terrible to live in with all it's capitalistic values then they are FREE to move somewhere else. Smashing windows and torching police cars are just stupid acts of violence. If you hate the capitalistic symbols of this city then go live in a tent in the desert or on an ice flow in the arctic where you don't have to look at a Starbucks or Nike Store. And take off the masks and let people see who you really are. You who have FREE speech are all hiding behind masks. How many of you have computers and cell phones and I-pods; how would you feel if your private property was smashed like the windows you smash.

We're all interdependent. Check out this G20 parody
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsVMc3VAwDw

Don't agree with some of the tactics used by some of the protesters but I can understand the frustration of many re the greed being displayed by many in this country and the ignoring of many of the legitimate concerns of the ordinary person!

Please tell me you're kidding.
You're proud to be a Torontonian after that?
I am disgusted and ashamed. It was absolutely useless violence -- destruction for the sake of being destructive.
I can't believe the police let this anarchy go on for so long, I would have cracked some fool skulls.
Get over it. Violent protesting is like arguing with a ref, they're the authority, you're not going to win.
Find something productive to do with your time.

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