G20 protesters burn police cars, smash windows

Sat Jun 26, 2010 7:05pm EDT
 
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By Pav Jordan

TORONTO (Reuters) - Protesters marching through downtown Toronto set police cars ablaze and smashed store windows in a show of opposition to the G20 leadership summit, as police in riot gear scrambled to contain the violence.

Black-clad "anarchists" separated from what began as a peaceful procession, fanning out through the core of a city generally known for its civility, and forcing police to rush to keep up.

Police cars were set ablaze in at least two areas, including the city's Bay Street financial district, while protesters on trendy Queen Street smashed storefronts and damaged media trucks.

Late in the afternoon, with a light rain falling, hundreds of protesters faced off with police at the corner of Bay and King streets, an area ringed by the head offices of four of the country's top banks.

Toronto Mayor David Miller condemned the violence, but said it was caused by a small group within the larger protest.

"A relatively small group of people ... came clearly with the intent of damaging property and perpetrating violence," Miller said at a news conference. "They're criminals that came to Toronto deliberately to break the law."

Anarchist groups, which led the violence, had specifically mentioned banks as targets in the run-up to the G20, and a Royal Bank of Canada branch in Ottawa was firebombed last month by a group saying they would protest at the summit.

PEACEFUL START   Continued...