Drunks, unprepared police fueled Vancouver riots

Thu Sep 1, 2011 6:37pm EDT
 
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VANCOUVER (Reuters) - A major riot in Vancouver this June was triggered when crowds of drunk protesters bent on causing trouble ran into an ill-prepared city police force, an official report concluded on Thursday.

Crowds of people, unhappy that the Vancouver Canucks National Hockey League team had just lost the deciding game of the Stanley Cup championships, poured into the city center and set police cars on fire, looted stores and clashed with the authorities.

"The night was fueled by alcohol and there were people who came downtown intent to cause harm and do damage and they did it," said John Furlong, one of the co-authors of the report.

"Alcohol gave them the bravado and the courage to do the kinds of things that they did that night," he told a news conference.

More than 100 people were arrested and estimates of the damage caused ran into millions of dollars.

The probe said 155,000 people crammed into the downtown core, surprising police who had expected a smaller crowd to arrive later on. As the riot progressed the number of police on the scene more than doubled from 446 to 928.

"Officials tried to do a good thing and acted with great courage but their plans were overwhelmed and their mistakes amplified by the impact of an immense crowd far beyond what was expected," said Furlong.

(Reporting by Andy Clark, writing by David Ljunggren)

 
<p>Vancouver Canucks fans flip over a pickup truck in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia during rioting after the Canucks lost Game-7, the final and deciding game of the Stanley Cup playoffs to the Boston Bruins, June 15, 2011. REUTERS/Anthony Bolante</p>