Bottles thrown at officers as they cleared crowded Vancouver beach for 2nd night, police say
VANCOUVER -- For the second night in a row, Vancouver police used a helicopter and patrol boat to clear away crowds of people gathered at English Bay after 10 p.m.
On Friday night, Sgt. Steve Addison says there was at least one fight and two arrests. The RCMP’s Air One chopper was brought in to light up the beach and “encourage people to go home,” Addison said.
Maddy Ersman told CTV News Vancouver she was nearby when the chopper turned up, saying when the floodlight hit the beach people started “cheering and kind of laughing, thinking it was a good time, thinking it was funny.”
On Saturday night, people gathered again.
“Crowds on the beaches swelled throughout the day, with tens of thousands of individuals, families, and social groups coming out due to the good weather,” Addison said. Adding officers patrolled through the day to encourage people to keep their distance and discourage drinking and smoking.
Once the beach closed at 10 p.m. officers started telling people to go home.
“While most people were compliant, some people did object. At one point, people began throwing bottles at officers, which resulted in additional officers being deployed to encourage people to leave,” Addison said.
The RCMP helicopter and the VPD patrol boat were both used again to shine bright lights on the beach to get people to leave.
There were no arrests Saturday night, said Addison.
English Bay beach is under the jurisdiction of the Vancouver Park Board. Commissioner John Irwin says he’s disappointed at some of the behaviour.
“I can understand a need for people to let off steam, but I think when it gets to the point where bottles are being thrown at police, that’s not at all acceptable,” Irwin said.
He says the park board may consider bringing back ambassadors to patrol parks and beaches to remind people of COVID-19 safety protocols.
“Maybe it's time, especially on the weekends, to have some people walking around, talking to people before something develops,” he said, while also admitting people may not listen at this point in the pandemic.