Three charged in violent Vancouver protest
Published Sunday, February 14, 2010 4:42PM PST
Police in Vancouver, B.C., have now charged three people in connection with a violent protest that saw windows smashed at downtown businesses and traffic tied up for hours on the second day of the 2010 Games.
On Saturday morning, around 100 black-clad masked protesters took over a mostly peaceful anti-Olympic demonstration, hurling newspaper boxes and vandalizing property in the city's downtown core. Another 200 demonstrators remained peaceful.
On Sunday, police announced charges against a 22-year-old from Shoreline, Washington. Daniel Frederick Myers is charged with possession of a dangerous weapon and possession of a prohibited weapon. He is being detained in connection to an unspecified immigration matter.
Vancouver resident Charlotte Christine Hannah, 23, is charged with assaulting a peace officer. Willow Violet Riley, 18, faces the same charge.
Police say four other people taken into custody for breach of the peace during the protest were released Saturday night.
After the protest, Vancouver police described the demonstrators as anarchists who employ a tactic called black bloc to obscure their faces and hide among legitimate, non-violent protesters.
Police Chief Jim Chu said the group included a loosely organized group of "thugs" from central Canada and the U.S. who are known to travel great distances to events that attract media coverage to promote a message of anarchy.
Chu said part of the group's strategy is to provoke police to goad them into confrontational situations.
"Some of the masked criminals were carrying vinegar soaked rags and goggles fully anticipating that they could provoke police into using tear gas," Chu said.
"To further bait police they spat on officers, kicked at them and taunted them."
Members of the Olympic Resistance Network quickly distanced themselves from the so-called anarchists after the event.
Alissa Westergard-Thorpe called the protest was "a day of autonomous actions, independent groups, with a diversity of tactics around the Olympics."
Westergard-Thorpe said the people who committed property damage were not the ones arrested.