Live blog: Saturday June 26
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair confirmed that 150 people have been arrested on Saturday.
From Madeleine White
Toronto Star photo blog
From Steve Russell
The TTC has announced that subway and streetcar service in the downtown core will not resume tonight.
Subway service between Bloor station and St. George station is expected to return Sunday morning at its regular 9 a.m. start time.
The Blue Line Network – buses that run down Yonge St. after the subway closes – will continue tonight, but the 320 Yonge St. bus will take a detour on Parliament St.
The Bloor-Danforth line has not been affected by the G20 protests.
Streetcars are also out of commission for the rest of the evening in the downtown core.
There are a series of shuttle buses to move people in the west end of the city. One bus runs along Queen St. W. from Bathurst to Roncesvalles Ave. Another bus is running from Dundas St. W. station, along College St. to Bathurst St. and then heads north to Bathurst station.
There are also free shuttle buses running along Bathurst St. and Parliament St. These are expected to last until the subway closes.
TTC officials say they will make a decision on Sunday’s TTC service tomorrow.
From Madeleine White
Day 2 recap: Peaceful protest turns violent
11 p.m.: Toronto, outside Novotel on Esplanade
About 200 protesters, a number lots holding peace signs up in the air, are sitting in front of the Novotel hotel on the Esplanade.
A wall of police came at them from the east and west side, trapping them on the street.
Protesters are passing around a lawyer’s number because they believe they are going be arrested.
A protester on a megaphone asked the police for a negotiator, but the riot officers did not respond.
Police are running into the group and snatching people out.
From Jennifer Yang
Most of the protesters sat down on Front St. E. facing Yonge St. around 10 p.m.
One protester on a megaphone shouted that the crowd will be staying there until someone from the G20 addresses them.
After a few minutes though, they headed to the Novotel on Esplanade where some protesters chanted in French.
Protesters say they're staying until a G20 leader comes down and hears their concerns.
9:59: GO offers shuttle buses
GO Transit has announced it will offer free shuttle bus service for customers on the Lakeshore east and west lines, in the wake of the closure of its rail services.
The Lakeshore east bus will depart from Danforth GO Station at 11 p.m. and stop at each GO train station along the corridor, with Oshawa GO Station as the final stop.
The Lakeshore west bus will depart from Mimico GO Station at 11 p.m. and stop at each GO train station along the corridor, with Hamilton GO Station as the final stop.
The TTC has yet to make a decision on when the subway will reopen south of Bloor and St. George stations. That section of the Yonge and University lines was shut down late Saturday afternoon.
TTC shuttle buses are still running from Bathurst station to Front St. and Parliament buses are running between Castle Frank station and Front St.
There is still no streetcar or bus service in the downtown core.
A police cruiser is engulfed in flames on Queen St. W. It is the fourth to be destroyed today.
STEVE RUSSELL/TORONTO STAR
9:52 p.m. Blair ups number of arrests
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair now says 130 people have been arrested. That is up from the 75 figure he provided less than an hour ago.
9:45 p.m. GO Transit offers shuttles home
GO Transit is offering free shuttle bus service tonight for customers on the Lakeshore East and West lines to help get customers home.
On the Lakeshore East line, GO Transit shuttle bus service will depart from Danforth GO Station at 11 p.m., making stops at each GO train station along the corridor with Oshawa GO Station as the final stop.
On the Lakeshore West line, GO Transit shuttle bus service will depart from Mimico GO Station at 11 p.m., making stops at each GO train station along the corridor with Hamilton GO Station as the final stop.
9:41 p.m. NDP Leader Jack Layton's comments on Saturday's demonstrations.
"The peaceful gathering was important expression of concern about global issues," said Layton. "The vandalism is criminal and totally unacceptable."
9:42 p.m. Wellington St. Riot Police Chase Protesters Away
Protesters reached the fence – then abandoned it minutes later. They had circled around a police barricade on Yonge St., cut through a park south of First Canadian Place, and assembled in a line on the north side of Wellington perhaps 15 metres from the fence.
A line of police officers guarded the fence. But as the protesters got closer, the officers, who were not in full riot gear, ceded the territory; protesters learned against the fence and grabbed it, holding up peace signs. Officers in riot gear quickly assembled, chasing the protesters north to a courtyard between financial buildings.
9:25 p.m. Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair announces 75 arrests and warns those responsible will be held accountable for acts of vandalism
At a news conference tonight, Toronto police chief Bill Blair said the violence of "black bloc" protesters was designed to draw officers away from the security fence so protesters could achieve their "greater purpose" of penetrating the perimeter.
Pronouncing himself "profoundly disappointed in the criminal acts that have taken place," he promised that "those responsible for acts of vandalism will be held accountable."
"We know who many of them are, and we have photographs of many others," he said. Blair defended a late-afternoon police effort to arrest protesters who appeared peaceful at Queen's Park, saying some were black bloc protesters who had changed clothes.
He denied that plastic slugs were used at all during the day - "No, I would be advised if those devices were being used," he said - though an ISU spokesperson confirmed it to the Star earlier in the evening.
9:26 p.m.Protesters on Adelaide St.
A few hundred protesters that had hijacked Yonge and Bloor Sts. have now turned down Adelaide St. As the rain poured down on them, they chanted: “To the banks”.
9:22 p.m. Yonge St. and Queen St. "To the Fence"
Protesters at Yonge St. and Queen St. now chanting "to the fence"
9:18 pm. Police Headquarters
Police say 75 people arrested.
9:15 p.m. Toronto From the Star's Olivia Ward:
Remember those cheerleading speeches from federal officials -- and even Mayor David Miller -- about the fabulous benefits of G20 summitry in the heart of downtown Toronto? Forget the ungrateful whiners who have to repair their shattered windows and storefronts at no expense to the federal government. What about the smiles on the faces of the downtown "hospitality" folk who are rubbing their hands over the Loonies rolling in?
They won't be found in the huge Sheraton Centre, where a bored-looking gent was reading the paper Saturday afternoon behind the news shop counter and waiting for the day to end. The umbrella I bought to keep off the pouring rain was one of his few sales of the day. "Nothing happening," he shrugged. "There's just nobody around." The hotel crowd, it seemed, had taken belt tightening to heart.
In the hotel coffee bar, same story. Oddly, in an area where everything else was shut tighter than a British Prime Minister's fist, almost nobody was tanking up on the caffeine that's normally the city's life blood. Could it be the barriers all around the hotel, and lines of burly cops? "I wish I had the weekend off," sighed the barista. "It's really, really slow. The only good thing is it's raining." Downstairs in the cavernous building, the souvenir shop struck gold. A distracted-looking African delegate stacked up $320 worth of Toronto t-shirts, no doubt under orders from his family. But, no gold rush. As I ascended the eerily silent escalator the cops outside the store were talking: And, said one, "I think we'll have to shut this area down next."
8:53 p.m. Queen St. W Officer knocked off horse
A police officer from the mounted unit appears to have been knocked off his horse. He was seen walking with his horse.
The crowd is chanting: “Whose streets?” “Our streets.”
8:52 p.m. Yonge and Bloor, Demonstrators continue to march
About 400 protesters have turned south on Yonge St., from Bloor St. The demonstrators leading the pack have said that they are heading towards Yonge-Dundas Square.
8:49 p.m. Queen St. W. Mounted police take street
Mounted police are now trotting west on Queen St.
8:46 p.m. Queen St. W.west of Spadina Police van arrives
The smell of burning rubber wafted through the intersection, as a large police van pulled up on Queen St. W. half a block east of Spadina. A large metal pole emerged from the roof and rose about 20 feet in the air. At the top was a camera which rotated to scan demonstrators on the street and on the roof tops. The well dressed women are retreating in the same direction as the rickshaw driver.
8:43 p.m. Avenue Road and Bloor St. Crowd marches and chants
The protesters have passed Avenue Rd. and continue to head east. Chants – “Whose streets? Our streets!” – can be heard emanating from the demonstrators. While the crowd is getting more boisterous and vocal, there hasn’t been any destruction.
8:38 p.m. Crowd hits Bloor Street, stalling traffic
Protesters are headed east on Bloor St., passing Varsity Stadium. Cars are stalled as demonstrators weave in and out of them. No one has approached the vehicles, but traffic is at a stand-still behind Avenue and Bedford Rds. as the crowd cheered on the streets.
Video: Protesters confront police
8:41 p.m. Toronto Tear Gas and Pepper Spray confirmed
The integrated security unit has confirmed “individual use” of tear gas and pepper spray against protesters.
According to ISU representative Tim Garland, specific individuals were targeted and blasted with the gas, which he said is launched “like a muzzle blast from a shotgun.”
The father the gas is shot, the further is disperses, he said. Larger tear gas canisters, which, like grenades, are typically launched from afar and disperse into a cloud, have not been used at this point, Garland said.
The ISU rep also confirmed that police have fired plastic slugs at protesters. Garland said he couldn’t comment on whether anyone has been injured by the gas or other weapons.
Police are continuing to report that 33 protesters have been placed under arrest since 6 a.m. Saturday.
8:29 p.m. Crowd Heads Towards Bloor St.
Police are following behind the protesters, forcing them westward on Hoskin Ave. One of the protesters sounded a vuvuzela as they marched closer to Robarts library, at St. George St. and Hoskin Ave. Demonstrators have turned north onto Devonshire Place, heading towards Bloor St. Some officers on horses continued west on Hoskin Ave.
8:30 p.m. Spadina and Queen Crowd growing
The crowd at Spadina and Queen is growing – it’s now about 500, Peter Edwards estimates. Two fire trucks with sirens wailing, inched through the intersection clogged with demonstrators, heading north on Spadina. Moments later, two police vans used for transporting prisoners also headed north.
A young man pulling an empty rickshaw ran to the edge of the melee shock his head and retreated west on Queen St. Meanwhile well dressed men and women out for an evening’s entertainment wove their way through the demonstrators.
8:25 p.m. Queen's Park, Rubber Bullets Fired
Police have fired rubber bullets at Queen’s Park-area protesters, hitting at least one man.(Update: police have confirmed the use of “plastic slugs” today.) As they continue to be pushed north, some protesters have begun encouraging others to head to Bloor St. They are now heading north from Wellesley St.
8.19 p.m. Queen St. W. east of Spadina, Youth swarm police
Five minutes after police regained control of the intersection they were swarmed once again by hundreds of youth, one of whom carried a flag with a peace sign. Black smoke from the burning police car towered above roof tops as police set up a new line one block east of Spadina, where they are standing shoulder to shoulder in full riot gear. More than 100 young people ran into the middle of the intersection. They applauded at the sound of exploding car tires. Some lifted their friends onto their shoulder tops to get a better view of the flames. More and more people are climbing on to rooftops to look down on the standoff.
Video: Police clear Queen's Park
8:20 p.m. GO Cancelled
All train services on the Lakeshore GO Transit line have been cancelled, according to GO representatives. A GO rep said she has “no idea” when service on the line will resume, but that there’s talk of it being suspended until at least tomorrow.
8:15 p.m. Inside the Security Fence, Stuck inside
Police are letting people out of the fence, but they won't be allowed back in, so residents are stuck.
8:12 p.m. Queen St. W at Spadina Ave. Police reclaim intersection
Riot police reclaimed the corner of Queen St. W and Spadina Ave. after being driven out by masked protestors who set a police car on fire. Youths stared down from rooftops from buildings, while others screamed taunts and cursed police. “This is our street.”
Police had been driven a block south on Spadina Ave. and rushed back in full riot gear to drive demonstrators out of the intersection. Shop keepers sprinted into their stores and locked up as neighbours ran to safety. In the background, half a block east on Queen St. a police cruiser burned in the middle of the street.
The loud sound of car tires exploding could be heard more than a block away. Half hour before the violence erupted, the mood on street had been mellow – young people talked about soccer while residents walked their dogs. Then a group of militant youth advanced on police, encircled the officers – swarming them in effect - taking their photos with cell phone cameras while yelling insults. At this moment, several dozen riot officers have moved in to provide reinforcements and appear to have driven the young out of the intersection.
8:09 p.m. Queen's Park Crowd moves north
The Queen’s Park-area protesters continue to be pushed north. They are now just north of Wellesley St., chanting, “We have the right to protest.”
8:00 p.m. Queen Street Exploding Tires
The loud sound of exploding tires from a burning police car was heard for blocks. Demonstrators were fleeing west on Queen Street as police advance. One man said: "My tax money pays for that car." He was angry at demonstrators.But a demonstrator retorted: "It's paid for by insurance." There is a lot of confusion and fear in neighborhood.
A police cruiser is engulfed in flames on Queen St. W. It is the fourth to be destroyed today.
BRETT POPPLEWELL/TORONTO STAR
7:55 p.m. Queen Street West, Car on Fire
Another police car has been set on fire. Peter Edwards reports there are flames in the middle of the street and smoke billowing over the building. Families and residents in the neighborhood are expressing genuine fear
7:45 p.m. Queen Street West Mob taunts police
An angry mob riot police at the corner of Queen St. West and Spadina Ave. Some youths shouted down from a roof top over looking the intersection as others screamed: Our Street and pointed fingers at riot police. Police had sealed off the intersection but youths flooded amongst the police from all directions. Some wore bandannas and screamed obscenities to officers. People looked out of windows and balconies above the Cameron House, which is decorated with numerous white lobsters. Some youths lobbed objects at police. Hundreds of youths have now circled police and taken their pictures with cell phone cameras.
7:45 p.m.: From Daniel Girard at BMO Field:
With less than 15 minutes to kickoff for tonight’s 7:30 p.m. soccer game between Toronto FC and the L.A. Galaxy, there are maybe 4,000 fans here. To date, this season, the average attendance has been 20,537. Last month, on the same day that the Toronto Blue Jays announced they were moving their weekend series against the Phillies to Philadelphia rather than play here, TFC confirmed the match would go ahead as scheduled.
Bob Hunter, an executive with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, said at the time that the decision was made because of the late kick-off, the difficulty of re-scheduling and "the fact that our supporters are experienced in dealing with events on the Exhibition grounds throughout the summer.” But the cancellation of public transit services and the potential hassle factor have clearly kept a lot of people away. It's certainly not the opposition. The L.A. Galaxy are the best team in Major League Soccer with a 10-1-2 record.
7:30 p.m. University Ave and Wellington St. Dance party
An impromptu hip-hop dance party has broken out in front of the fence at University Ave. and Wellington St. "F--k the G20, F--k the G20," the dancers are shouting.
7:25 p.m. Queen's Park Some of the crowd flees
The confrontation around Queen’s Park appears to be nearing an end. Officers have herded many of the remaining protesters into a small group, and perhaps a quarter of the crowd has fled.
7:30 p.m. Queen's Park A dozen detained, police on foot and horseback
Police on foot and horseback have forced the protesters north on University onto the grass at Queen’s Park, where they have charged into the crowd and detained about a dozen people. They have dragged several of them by their legs and shoulders.
7:26 p.m. At the Security Fence Calm for the moment
Everything is calm at the fence, but residents and business owners inside the security zone are getting restless, hanging around and wondering aloud when they might be able to get out. Cops inside the fence are laying low again - sitting on the curb, munching power bars, and playing with their phones.
7:20 p.m. Queen St. W. at John St. Crowd thins
Police tactics appear to have worked. Those who were part of the small crowd caught between police lines are slowly wandering away.
7:17 p.m. Queen St. W. near John St. Boxed In
Protestors on Queen St. W. are singing O Canada. They are caught between two lines of police, television reports. “We’re citizens,” a woman cries out. “We’re being boxed in by police,” a man says.
A police car is engulfed in flame at Bay St. and King St. W.
JAYME POISSON/TORONTO STAR
7:09 p.m. Queen St. W. Police Perimeter
Police have formed a perimeter on Queen St. W. near John St. A small crowd of about 100 milled behind the police line - and suddenly ran - as police moved toward them. They appear to be trying to move the crowd out of the area.
7:05 p.m. Union Station No Train or Bus Service
GO Transit is confirming that there is no train or bus service from or to Union Station at this time. All buses coming from the west are being sent to Yorkdale GO station and buses from the north and east are being re-routed to the York Mills station. There is no word on when regular service will resume, said GO spokesperson Jason Allen.
6:52 p.m. Queen St. W. Fire extinguished
Firefighters have extinguished fire in police car .
A makeshift medic team treats demonstrators hit by pepper spray.
ROBYN DOOLITTLE/TORONTO STAR
6:50 p.m. Images of violence shocking
Images of violence and destruction in downtown Toronto “are truly shocking to Canadians,” says Chris McCluskey, spokesperson for federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews.
"Toronto is a world-class city, and the government of Canada condemns these acts of violence by groups of radical protestors,” McCluskey adds.
“We commend the outstanding work of the police officers as they continue to maintain order in downtown Toronto. We are taking all measures necessary to ensure Canadians, delegates, media and international visitors remain safe. The Integrated Security Unit and its partners have a comprehensive security plan that has been developed by Canada's best security experts in the field.”
Quebec communist protesters set off a flare while protesting the G20 at Spadina Ave. and Queen St. W.
JESSE MCLEAN/TORONTO STAR
6:33 pm Queen's Park. Violence at Queen's Park Police on horseback are on the move at Queen’s Park. Robyn Doolittle, counts 19 mounted police, reports that two people have been knocked down. At least two protestors have been detained.
Moments later, two people stomped on by horses were on the ground screaming. Officers on the ground moved in and handcuffed them. Nineteen mounted police in full riot gear – and horses wearing eye shields – have now retreated.
6:37 p.m. Air Canada Centre Andre Rieu's concert cancelled tonight
Andre Rieu’s concert at the Air Canada Centre has been postponed, according to Ticketmaster.The classical violinist’s show was slated to start at 8 p.m. Saturday.Ticketmaster has no further information at this time regarding a possible new date for the concert.
Hundreds of well dressed, disappointed fans of Andre Rieu had braved their way into downtown Toronto only to find their concert cancelled.
Some in wheelcairs or with canes, they made their way backup to cars or strolled down Queens Quay, desperate for cabs or a place to eat, both in very short supply. Some consoled themselves by snapping cell pix of limos they thought might contain Obama.
6:28 p.m. King and Bay St. To stay or not to stay, that is the question.
Reports the Star’s Raveena Aulakh: Protestors first scream, yell at police. Have a standoff. An hour later, they try to strike up a friendly conversation.
"We are here for the night," said a girl at King and Bay Sts., with her hair shaved off from sides. "Might as well chat with them. It might get boring otherwise."
There is a lot of talk about staying overnight at this intersection. About 200 protesters are here while many more hundred are screaming at cops at Adelaide and Bay Sts.
Some protesters have come prepared. They have small mats, bottles of water and bits of food. Many are making their backpack their pillow. But most realize they may get arrested if they continue.
6:25p.m. Police Headquarters 33 arrests since 6 a.m
Constable Tim Garland said police have not had any reports of looting, “but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened.”
Garland, speaking on behalf of the ISU overseeing security for the G8/G20 summits, said he could not confirm how many police cruisers had been damaged or torched during protests today, but said 33 people have been arrested since 6 a.m. and that police have multiple prisoner wagons on call.
6:22 p.m. Queen's Park McGuinty's Reaction to Violence
Premier Dalton McGuinty strongly condemned the chaotic scene in Toronto.
"There is no need for it," he siad in a statement. "There is no excuse for it. It is not the Ontario way."
Peaceful protest has always been part of the bedrock of Canada's democracy, he said. "The vast majority of today's demonstrators have been peaceful and responsible.
However, willful, mindless destruction and violence have no place in our province. I appeal to all involved to allow calm to prevail," he said.
"On behalf of Ontarians, I urge all protesters to let their voices be heard through peaceful means.”
6:15 p.m. BMO Field
From the Star’s Daniel Girard, who covers Toronto FC soccer: “Sitting in the press box in an empty BMO Field ahead of the 7:30 game between TFC and L.A. Galaxy. Big plume of black smoke seen rising in the distance.”
6.11 pm, Queen Street West. Another car on fire?Police car is in flames on Queen St. W. east of Spadina, CTV is reporting. A crowd is keeping a distance from the burning vehicle. There appears to be no attempt to extinquish the blaze.
6:14 p.m. At the Fence
Police now circling protestors west on Wellington St., telling them to clear the road. A woman with a megaphone is yelling at cops behind fence, but most people are just hanging around, or walking slowly down the street.
6:10 pm Bay and King St. Bed In
Six men and one woman are lying down on Bay at King St. They say they will stay the night.
6:08 p.m. Toronto More on morning's arrests
Eleven people were arrested this morning after a joint police investigation of what they call anarchists groups that began in April of 2009. A joint intelligence group of law enforcement officers whose mandate was to investigate threats related to terrorism, public order or other threats from individuals or groups with extremist views has been conducting covert investigations throughout Ontario.
These investigations were and are largely focused on identifying and preventing threats to events such as the 2010 Winter Olympics, the Olympic Torch Relay throughout Ontario and the G8/G20 political summits scheduled for the end of June 2010, according to information in the charges.
Of the 11 arrested, four were in the Finch Avenue court this afternoon and two were remanded until Monday.
Each person was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit indictable mischief. Defence lawyer Brydie Bethel confirmed four of the accused are: Amanda Hiscocks; Leah Henderson, Peter Hopperton and Alex Hundert.
6:05 p.m. City Hall Avoid Downtown Core
Mayor David Miller said Torontonians should avoid the downtown core where the protests are centred until police say it is safe to return. Asked if police lost control of the situation, in light of the damage caused, Miller said: "It would be exceptionally unfair to the Toronto Police Service and (other police forces) ... to second-guess what they're doing in the heat of the moment at a time like this."
6 p.m. Teary-eyed protester
An anarchist protester was injured in a skirmish with police on John Street.
JESSE MCLEAN/TORONTO STAR