Hundreds of Canadian riot police, on foot, on horseback, and armed with round shields, rectangular shields and batons, brought an end to what some local bloggers are already calling the Mighty Stand at Queens Park after several hours on Saturday, pushing protesters that had dogged them for much of the day and throughout the city to a rout.
Police made surgical strikes on the crowd of protesters as they pushed them back from Queens Park, through the University of Toronto campus and up to the border of Bloor and St. George, where trendy bars entertain the city’s up and coming. It wasn’t clear how many were arrested at the protest.
Protesters reacted mostly peacefully, breaking into a run as horsemen pushed them up city streets.
The move was a change in tactics for police, who had earlier in the day retreated from large pockets of protesters, preferring to fall back and protect the fencing surrounding the G20 summit.
Instead, police aggressively burst into the group, pulling out at least one journalist, and sparking near-panic among the sea of people that ran before them.
It was the grand finale to a day that saw surprising violence on Toronto’s normally tranquil streets, as several police cars were burned, and store windows were smashed, mostly at the hands of a small group of black-clad protesters who separated from the main G20 demonstration.
Police Chief Bill Blair put his own emphasis on the day, calling it some of the worst mob violence Toronto has ever seen.