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Vancouver police blame Stanley Cup riots on anarchists

Vancouver police blame Stanley
Cup riots on anarchists

(CNN) — Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu
is blaming “criminals and anarchists” who, he said, disguised themselves as
Canucks fans for riots after the team lost the NHL’s Stanley Cup
finals.

“These were people who came equipped with masks, goggles and
gasoline, even fire extinguishers that they would use as weapons,” Chu said of
Wednesday night’s melee.

Nearly 100 people were arrested, according to
Deputy Mayor Raymond Louie. Fifteen vehicles were damaged after the home team
lost the hockey championship to the Boston Bruins.

“We have more than 100
tips that include video and photographs of the individuals involved in the
riot,” Raymond said Thursday. “We will investigate and prosecute individuals
involved in last night’s activities. They do not represent Vancouver, and we
thank the people that came out this morning to help clean the
streets.”

Among unofficial Facebook pages set up after the violence was
one soliciting cleanup help and another asking readers to report riot
“morons.”

The city was still coming to grips with the
mayhem.

“It’s totally unlike Vancouver,” said Jennifer Richie, bar
manager at the Wicklow Public House bar and restaurant. “Just too many people
had too much to drink.”

She said fire and smoke billowed in and around
neighborhoods near Rogers Arena, where hundreds of angry hockey fans wreaked
havoc after the loss.

“I’m a little ashamed to live in Vancouver right
now.”

The incident echoed a 1994 Vancouver riot after a Stanley Cup loss
to the New York Rangers, which caused widespread damage that resulted in
hundreds of arrests.

Another city restaurant manager called Wednesday
night’s turmoil “disappointing.”

“I’m proud to be from Vancouver,” said
Courtney Rose, manager of the Boat House restaurant. “I’ve grown up thinking we
are a peaceful city in western Canada, not the kind of people who destroy
property and fight with police in the streets.”

Rose said she and other
residents avoided downtown parts of the city after smelling tear gas in areas
surrounding the arena.

Public transportation was also restricted during
the riot, she said, which temporarily prevented residents from entering parts of
the city.

The melee began after the Bruins won their first NHL
championship in 39 years, trouncing the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 on Wednesday
night.

“It’s absolutely disgraceful and shameful,” Mayor Gregor Robertson
told CNN affiliate CTV. “It by no means represents the city of
Vancouver.”

He called the rioters “despicable” after hundreds of mostly
young people took to the streets and set overturned vehicles ablaze.

Some
disappointed fans and rioters stopped and posed in front of the flames. Others
danced atop an overturned vehicle as a cloud of gray smoke hung over
downtown.

Aerial footage showed city police wading into the unruly crowd
that taunted and threw debris at the officers a few blocks from the
arena.

Meanwhile, sanitation workers continued cleanup efforts Thursday
across downtown sections of the Canadian city.

After dropping the first two games in Vancouver, the Bruins
took four of the last five games from the Canucks, who struggled to stay in Game
Seven after going down 1-0 in the first period.

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