Riots in Vancouver after hockey loss
Disappointed Vancouver fans rioted in the central part of the city last night after their hockey team lost a pivotal game 7 in the championship finals.
Tear gas mingled with the stench of acrid smoke and stale beer as riot police, truncheons drawn, moved in to quell the violence, pushing crowds away from the burning cars.
Later, police cars also were set on fire. At one point, police were using flash-bangs -- grenades that are designed to distract and disorient, rather than injure -- to try to break up the mob.
"This isn't what the Canucks are about," said Chad McMillan, 31, a Vancouver resident and Canucks fan. "This isn't what their fans are about. This isn't what this city is about."
At a Bay store, looters were seen grabbing T-shirts and anything else they could get their hands on. Young women were seen escaping with MAC cosmetics, with one carrying out part of a mannequin. The landmark building was filling with smoke as people, their faces covered in bandannas, continued the violence.
American cities have largely learned to deal with this sort of post game violence. The only answer is massive, visible police presence and preventing crowds from congregating. Isolated incidents still happen in the US after championship games - the contrast with the crowds in victorious Boston is instructive - but the lessons learned from what happened in cities like Detroit from the early 1990's have been absorbed and post game celebrations here rarely get out of hand.
It's fair to say that the vast majority of fans celebrated responsibly, and officers have done an excellent job of keeping order," Elaine Driscoll, a spokeswoman for the Boston police, said early Thursday.
Driscoll said there were no immediate reports of injuries. She said police would not have an exact count on arrests until later in the day.
In Vancouver, disappointed fans set some cars on fire and tipped over others after their team's loss.
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino told WFXT-TV that he was unaware of any major damage or looting.
Vancouver authorities appeared to acknowledge they werern't ready for it:
"You don't ever hope for a situation like this," Vancouver police Const. Jana McGuinness said. "You celebrate the good times and you prepare for the bad times and that's exactly what we've done. Unfortunately, the tables have turned tonight. ... We will have to sit down and evaluate exactly what happened here. It's going to be a black mark for a very, very long time."