Anti-riot officers fanned through downtown Toronto in a show of strength to deter a repeat of the violent demonstrations that erupted within blocks of the G20 summit which ended in more than 400 arrests, smashed shop-fronts and burned out police cars.
Residents watched in shock as clashes between protesters and police wracked parts of downtown Toronto. Black smoked billowed from the burning police vehicles on Saturday, while youths could be seen vandalising property. One group was witnessed snatching mannequins from an American Apparel shop and using them to smash the windows of Zanzibar, a strip club.
Nearby, a Subway sandwich shop and a branch of Scotia Bank had their windows broken. "Bomb the Bank," was scrawled on a wall. Up and down the main avenues of the financial section, police in riot gear gathered in platoons, occasionally pushing back protesters, banging batons on shields.
Early yesterday, police swooped on to the campus of the University of Toronto, just blocks from the summit site, and arrested at least 70 people who had been sleeping there. Officials said they also seized sharpened stakes, black clothing and canisters of an unknown liquid.
Four people were taken into custody after popping out from a manhole cover in the road close to the Royal York Hotel, where David Cameron was staying. "I don't know what they were doing down there, I guess they would be able to tell you that," said Jillian Van Acker, of the Integrated Security Unit, which was responsible for protecting leaders at the summit.
Late on Saturday, the Mayor of Toronto, David Miller, went on television to urge residents to remain calm. Calling the rioters, many of whom appeared to have travelled from outside the city, "criminals", he said: "I just want to say to Torontonians – please stay calm, don't be disturbed by these images."
While police had prepared for unrest turning much of the downtown area into a fortress, the ferocity of the protests seemed to have caught them off-guard.Reuse content