Vancouver licks wounds after riot dims Olympic glow

Sat Jun 18, 2011 4:37am EDT
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By Allan Dowd

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Vancouver responded with shock and shame on Thursday after their team's National Hockey League defeat ended in riots and broken glass, images that shattered the Canadian city's peaceful reputation.

By mid-morning, scores of citizen volunteers were helping city crews clean up the downtown mess, and a painted sign on a board covering a smashed window at a Hudson's Bay department store, read: "On behalf of my team and my city I'm sorry."

Boarded-up store windows and scorched pavement from burned cars -- including two police vehicles -- offered evidence for morning commuters of the Wednesday night's alcohol-fueled rampage by hundreds of young people.

The violence began in the closing moments of Vancouver Canucks' 4-0 loss to the Boston Bruins in the deciding seventh game of the Stanley Cup NHL Championship, a series that Vancouver had been favored to win.

Police blamed "criminal anarchists and thugs" for inciting violence, and said some had been part of groups that attempted, without much success, to disrupt the 2010 Winter Olympics.

The Games included a few skirmishes with police, mostly at the start. But they ended in a jubilant carnival atmosphere of red and white, Canada's national colors, as Canada's team won the gold medal in ice hockey in the final event of the Games.


About 100 people were arrested in Wednesday's rioting, with more arrests expected after police pore through cellphone images from witnesses. About 150 civilians and nine police officers were hurt and at least 50 stores damaged or looted.   Continued...

<p>A couple looks at messages on plywood covering the windows of a damaged store that was looted during riots after the NHL Stanley Cup finals in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia June 17, 2011. REUTERS/Jason Lee</p>