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Peaceful beginnings, violent ending as G20 protests grip Toronto

A look at a full day of G20 protests across the city through the lenses of five staff photographers.

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RICHARD LAUTENS - Protesters have a bit of a love-in following the initial march. Tens of thousands came out to protest the G20 meetings this afternoon.  They marshalled at Queen's Park and marched through the streets.  Originally very peacefull, the protest turned ugly with smashed windows and the police public order unit finally coming in to quell the crowd at the intersection of College and University. 

STEVE RUSSELL - Falun Gong and Falun Dafa practioners protest peacefully in the rain as a variety of protests directed at the G20 Summit are held at Queen's Park in Toronto.

STEVE RUSSELL - A Uygur protests against China at Queen's Park get ready to march during a protest of  G20 Summit.

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BERNARD WEIL - Flowers were thrown at the riot police on Spadina Avenue.

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CARLOS OSORIO - Riot Police, some with flowers, stand their ground on Queen Street during the G20 protests.     

STEVE RUSSELL -  Police in soft hats watch protesters walk by on Queen Street West. The police are backed up by officers in riot gear.

STEVE RUSSELL - Police in riot gear watch over protesters of  the G20 Summit in Toronto. 

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CARLOS OSORIO - A protester weeps infront of a line of riot police, she said that she just wishes to be let through and have her right to protest in peace in Toronto's downtown core.

BERNARD WEIL - Police guard Queen and John Streets.

BERNARD WEIL - Protestors block police that surrounded their police car on Queen Street west.

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LUCAS OLENIUK - An anarchist attacks the media on Queen Street West.

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LUCAS OLENIUK - An anarchist group broke away from the main protest at Queen and Spadina and began to vandalize police cars, media trucks and storefronts throughout the city.

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LUCAS OLENIUK - Anarchists vandalize a police cruiser on Bay Street before setting it on fire.

LUCAS OLENIUK - Protesters attack a police car at Bay and King during the G20 in downtown Toronto.

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LUCAS OLENIUK - Police regroup as Anarchist protesters wreak havoc in Toronto's downtown core during the G20 protests.

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LUCAS OLENIUK - Anarchists terrorized Yonge Street Saturday smashing windows and vandalizing anything that came into their path.      

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CARLOS OSORIO - A man finds a spot to rest after Anarchist protesters wreaked havoc in Toronto's downtown core during the G20 protests.

STEVE RUSSELL - A security Guard rescues a customer from the ATM area of the TD back at Queen and Bay after Anarchists broke the window.

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LUCAS OLENIUK - An anarchist group travelling north on Yonge Street smashed windows.

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RICHARD LAUTENS - A window of Winners on College street gets smashed by a woman.Tens of thousands came out to protest the G20 meetings this afternoon.  They marshalled at Queen's Park and marched through the streets.  Originally very peacefull, the protest turned ugly with smashed windows and the police public order unit finally coming in to quell the crowd at the intersection of College and University.

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RICAHRD LAUTENS -  A chair get thrown through the window of  Tim Hortons near the corner of Yonge and College.

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RICHARD LAUTENS - Police fire into the crowd on University at College.

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LUCAS OLENIUK - The riot ended at Queens Park but there were little outbreaks across the downtown.

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RICHARD LAUTENS - A man tries to talk to one of the officers in the line at college and University.

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CARLOS OSORIO - Protesters clash with police at Queen's Park during the G20 protests.

STEVE RUSSELL - A woman is overcome by emotion on Yonge Street after violence broke out in protests for  G20 Summit.

STEVE RUSSELL - Police arrest a pair of protesters on College Street near Queen's Park.

STEVE RUSSELL - A protester breaks up a police car at Queen Street West near Spadina, two damaged police cars were left on the street during a protest of  G20 Summit.

STEVE RUSSELL - A protester is overcome by smoke after attempting to put out a fire in a police car at Queen Street West near Spadina.

STEVE RUSSELL - The first of two cruisers burns on Queen Street West near Spadina, two damaged police cars were left on the street.

CARLOS OSORIO - Demonstrators clash with police at College and University as the sun sets.     

RICHARD LAUTENS - The police finally move in on protesters who refused to move, kicking some to get up just south of the Legislature.     

STEVE RUSSELL - The window at the Starbucks at Queen and John is broken during a protest of  G20 Summit.        


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This is disgraceful! And those who participated in the violent protest should be ashamed of themselves. Canadians are know around the world to be a peaceful and friendly people and after hearing about the events of yesterdays riots will now think of us in a different light.

Very Sad!!!

I want my Toronto back...to the thugs who hijacked our city get the hell out. You have no voice at our peaceful protests and are actually the ones muzzling us.

The miscreant, criminals who are responsible for this excessive property damage, do not have a platform or are they tuly interested any type of political statement only acting like the igonrant, sad, dissasociative members of scoiety they are!


These black bloc rioters are cowards if they want to attack the corporation do so starting with the worst not small business police officers and media who are doing their jobs. I was very impressed by the media and police for their dedication to duty.
A few bad apples doomed the rest of the protest i hope they get prosecuted.

Officer beating old man with papers in his hand; you must br real proud of yourself today eh tough guy.
The cylons are about.
Monsanto has a hardon today.

The so-called peaceful protesters seem to exponentially outnumber the anarchist criminals. Why do they allow then to hide amongst their ranks, unless they agree with the actions of this group of thugs?

People ask why I ignore any and all statements made by activists. This is precisely why. As soon as you break the law your words fall on my cold deaf ears.

I would like to protest the police use of rubber bullets. Rubber bullets cost 3 times as much as regular bullets. Quit wasting my money. Shoot the criminals!

excellent pictures - sad that such violent protesters can get your point across without turning a city upside down!!

I've never seen cops use gas masks to fire rubber bullets. It looks more like they are firing tear gas.

Best photo's I've seen thus far. Very emotional. Great work.

good..if you ask me these protesters need a good whipping. the police were peaceful throughout... just standing guard, blocking the streets (as required) all while taking violence from the protesters from the beginning. the cops handled it perfectly, but my only critique is they didn't do anything while the "black bloc" was destroying the city. protesters are a menace, they are ignorant. they think that toronto is a police state. stop whining and go to north korea.

How many of the Black Bloc are involved in car glass and window sales? I smell a conspiracy.


can't people see these 'anarchists' for what they are? children, who should find a more reasonable way to quell their tempers. grow up.

Good work guys, love the photos

They aren't cops. See for yourself. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOjGdvju-po

Police cannot prevent every window in Toronto from getting broken. No matter how many of them there are, any window can be broken in a second. So please don't blame the police for damaged property. Even if they witness it, a single police officer cannot move in for the arrest. They would be putting themselves in danger. They need to perform these arrests when there are sufficient numbers to arrest and others to protect/secure the area. I applaude the men and women in uniform. It's not an easy job. Protesters can wear weather appropriate clothing, the police are in full gear and I'm sure they are feeling the heat and weight of their gear.

I just saw that thugs are popping out of the sewers. I suppose that's a legitimate method of travel for protesters too? Of course not, they are hooligans. But they don't wear badges like the police do. So the police have to look at all people on the street (protesters, hooligans and gawkers) with the same scepticism.

Jail time needed for Black Block and any others who damaged public or private property. With the jail time comes a record that will follow them all their lives. Many job application forms now ask if you've ever been arrested. If they think it's silly, wait till they are thirty-five and try to shop in the states or go to Myrtle Beach or Florida for a vacation. As criminals, they'll be turned back at the border. These people are obviously hooligans out for the thrill of lawlessness but the consequences will show that they aren't that smart after all. Funny but many will end up on pogie distributed by the governments they seek to bring down. Really, really stupid.

This ridiculous bunch of Black Bloc vandals (I will not dignify them by calling them protestors) deliberately set out to be violent and cause destruction. They've been planning this for months, I'm guessing. With the result that there is no obvious news coverage of the important demands of the thousands of peaceful protestors who marched on Fri and Sat. Only endless media yakking about all the violence.

What is their point? Well, I did see some of the bunch yesterday dressed all in black with black bandanas or scarves covering their noses and mouths. Young, mostly white, mostly male. Are they acting out their youthful need to defy authority in a big way? Are they naively thinking that they're actually making a real point about the harmful policies of the G8 and G20 nations? Are they full of adrenaline and testosterone and thinking they're so radical and so cool to "take on the powers that be"?

I see them as mainly priviledged youth of the north, so unaware of their priviledge that they actually go out and deliberately try to provoke confrontations with the police when there are no immediate reasons in their own lives for them to do so. They have no clue what it is to live under true repression and true conditions of desperation in countries like South Korea, Nepal, Thailand, Burma, Latin American countries during times of dictatorship, Iran, South Africa during apartheid, Occupied Palestine, etc. People in those countries take to the streets because there is truly no alternative for them anymore. They know that the security forces and governments in their own countries will often violently attack their peaceful protests. They know that they risk their very lives by going out to protest. But they protest anyway, because the issues are too important to their very survival. These people don't want violence, they just want justice, opportunity, normal lives. But they are forced into having violence be a part of their lives because their governments are so brutal.

As for the Black Bloc, mainly young white men in the north, as a category of people they're so used to being the centre of attention in the world and they want part of the protest action too. They're so full of self importance, so self-absorbed that they couldn't care less if the very real messages sent by labour, environmental, women's, etc. movements during the peaceful marches are completely overun by media coverage of their senseless violence. They don't even commit violence carrying signs in their hands with messages indicating what they are protesting.

If they really thought it through, they'd realize that having a violence-free protest would make much bigger headlines around the world. They should use all their time and energy to carry out some infinitely more creative, attention-getting, and peaceful protest actions that would make for some spectacular headlines. Kind of like how Greenpeace and other groups are always scaling up the sides of buildings and boats and equipment to hang huge inventive banners with protest messages that make for great newspaper photos.

This is all intentional, this is all media game, if you are a protester or a cop, you are both useless to the world if
you are participating in this game.

The anarchists aren't protesters they are people who saw a chance to cause trouble because the G20
created a place for them to do it.

How's this - next time hold the G20 summit ONLINE. STAY HOME. DON'T BRING TROUBLE TO CITIES.
This IS the future people, we can do this virtually, over the phone. ON TV???
Do you think things couldn't be worked out that way?

This is pathetic, our city is pathetic.
The G20 is pathetic.

Good luck world.

I'm amazed at the amount of people that are idly standing taking pictures, talking on cell phones and waving to the camera(s) basicly saying through their actions "hi mom, I'm on TV" by as police cars burn, windows are smashed and people riot.

I'm amazed that at the rally and parade sponsored by the Canadian Labour Congress that parents would show up with their children in baby strollers. Do they not watch the news and see what happens when the G-20 meet?

This is not a made for TV movie, after school special, Hollywood blockbuster nor video game. This is real. Get out of the way of the police and just go home peacefully.

Although I knew this would happen, it is still very disturbing. The police deserve a STANGIND OVATION for their professionalism and restraint under such trying and fluid circumstances.

If I had a billion dollars...

If I had a billion dollars
Id make up a lake (even if noone goes there!)
If I had a billion dollars
I'll spend it all in one place (and bring lots of cops there!)
If I had a billion dollars!
Id try to buy your love!

If I had a billion dollars
I'll put up a really long fence (to keep the riff raff away!)
If I had a billion dollars
Id throw a party for 20 guests (and build an airport for my friends!)
If I had a billion dollars
Id try to buy your love

If I had a billion dollars
Id close downtown for a weekend (with my friends)
If I had a billion dollars
I would step on toes and dont care (cuz poor people dont pay!)
If I had a billion dollars
Id buy teargas to safe face (yeah, scare them away!)

If I had a billion dollars
Id screw over transit, (yeah, Id limo it there!)
If I had a billion dollars
Id invite obama over (but no african guests!)
If I had a billion dollars
Id buy horses and do a cop parade!

If I had a billion dollars
I would try to buy your looooveeee....

Historically, police have infiltrated the Black Bloc ranks to incite violence and give the police a justification for their violent rampages against innocent citizens.

I moved to T.O. 3 years ago. I am embarrassed the way the police acted(see eastern avenue protest outside detention cetner) I am embarrassed of the people of Toronto burning their own city down. I am embarrassed of the U of T students who participated as black block.....(which did happen)

This is definately not a place to raise a family, the whole city is an embarassement.
I will be moving back to the burbs where the people live a peaceful life .....

Fantastic and dramatic pics. Anticipation of the violent/criminal behavior apparently drove the big price tag on security for the summit. It's too bad that the property-damaging /black-bloc tactic users are costing the people so much. I agree with former posters that all they accomplish is a bad name for the views they claim to represent, useless destruction and add in inconvenience, threat and financial cost to citizens. I think these hooligans may tend to be more immature, naive, misanthropic. anti-social or otherwise outcast souls looking for inclusion in a group, or outlets for their ineffectualness, rage or desperation.

Assholes !! All of the protestors are assholes. What were they thinking? Torching police cars?! Looting and breaking windows of businesses?! Not respecting the officers who told them to leave the area?! Prosecute them all to the full extent of the law.

So what if an officer uses slightly excessive force. Most of these protesters( i suspect) don't even know what they are protesting about . It is strictly an opportunity to stir things up!

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