Black Bloc Riot at the 2010 Olympic Games Damages Hudson Bay Company Store in Vancouver's City Centre

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Black Bloc tactics have also been used in the anti-globalization movement. "Black blocs gained significant media attention when a black bloc caused damage to property of GAP, Starbucks, Old Navy, and other retail locations in downtown Seattle during the 1999 anti-WTO demonstrations  . They were a common feature of subsequent anti-globalization protests," Wikipedia's entry says.  

Protesters smashed a window with newspaper box at the Hudson Bay Company on Granville Street and at 1:30 this afternoon, crews had begun work to rebuilt the window which is situated beneath a multi-story poster of an advertisement for the Bay's Olympic merchandise.

"About 200 protesters have been involved in damaging property by smashing windows and spray painting vehicles. There have been no confirmed injuries at this time," Constable McGuinness said.

A variety of protests have been long in the making for the 2010 Winter Games---demonstrations meant to address a spectrum of issues from poverty, to homelessess to Prime Minister Stephen Harper's efforts to close down a successful drug treatment program on the Downtown Eastside known as Insight.

This group contained more than 100 masked people many of whom kicked and damaged numerous parked cars. They used spray paint on cars and transit buses and tore down signs.
They also clashed with members of the public and pedestrians who didn’t support them. At one point they used a ladder as a moving barricade.

Police said that the "criminal element" hid within the ranks of the legitimate protesters and that this posed challenges to police who had to identify who among the crowd were responsible for the property damage and violence.
As the group began to escalate their violence and vandalism Vancouver Police increased their presence along Georgia Street to preserve public safety, Constable McGuinnis said. Members of the Integrated Security Unit also joined the effort to restore the peace. Members of the VPD Crowd Control Unit also participated.
Once the violence began, specifically as some in the group smashed windows at the Bay department store, the bulk of the crowd drifted away distancing themselves from the criminal element.
 Some of the masked criminals were carrying vinegar soaked rags and goggles anticipating that they would provoke police into using tear gas. "They spat on officers," McGuinness said. "It was awful."

Seven suspects were arrested and charges of mischief are pending. A bag with a hammer was recovered. One suspect had a bicycle chain wrapped around his fist when he was arrested

On Georgia half a block down from the smashed window pane, people stood on the sidewalk and watched live coverage of the speedskating. Around the corner, about 150 people stood in a line so long it doubled back on itself. They were waiting to get access to the HBC Olympic boutique.

With files from Megan Stewart     

Link here to Vancouver Observer videos of riot by Roger Bigras 



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