Province, city reviewing riot aftermath

Solicitor General Shirley Bond's pre-game pleas to celebrate responsibly went out the window along with the Vancouver Canucks' Stanley Cup hopes Wednesday night, leaving the city and the province to clean up and assess their crowd control strategy.

Rioters vandalize an unmarked police car in downtown Vancouver Wednesday night after the Canucks loss in the Stanley Cup final.

Solicitor General Shirley Bond’s pre-game plea to celebrate responsibly went out the window along with the Vancouver Canucks’ hopes for the Stanley Cup Wednesday night, leaving the city and the province to clean up and reassess their crowd control strategy.

At a tense news conference with fire officials Thursday, Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu said there will be multiple reviews of the response to the Stanley Cup riot of 2011, including the big question of whether the city should abandon the practice of encouraging thousands of people to gather downtown.

RCMP and Abbotsford Police reinforcements, sent in after post-game crowds turned violent, took three hours to stop extensive damage and looting in downtown stores. A strategy of “meet and greet” by police crowd control units with people watching on giant TV screens had little deterrent effect.

As the mayhem was covered on live television, Bond urged thousands of picture-snapping spectators to go home.

Lessons learned from the 1994 Stanley Cup riot helped get the situation under control in half the time as the events of 17 years ago, Chu said, and police were dealing with many more rioters and hangers-on.

Chu identified the key perpetrators as the same group of “anarchists and criminals” who disrupted the 2010 Olympics. They are opportunists, looking for big crowds to hide their activities, he said.

Police did not anticipate the full impact of wireless social media on crowds, invited to gather at downtown “live sites” to watch in the tradition of the 2010 Olympics. Huge crowds of drunken spectators with camera phones delayed police and fire crews from stopping the looting and burning.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson also identified “a small group of troublemakers” as the primary cause.

Premier Christy Clark told CKNW radio Thursday that the review has to focus on the social media factor, and use new technology to identify people caught in video and still images.

“We have to make sure that the hard-core group of troublemakers is punished,” Clark said.

Just Posted

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 5: Recap

Highlights and results from day 5 at the All Native Tournament

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 6: Preview

Look ahead to all the action scheduled for Feb. 16 at the All Native Tournament

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 4: Recap

Results and highlights from day 4 at the 2019 All Native Basketball Tournament

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 3: Recap

Highlights from around Day 3 of the tournament

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

B.C. athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

New round of consultations with Indigenous communities is coming

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

B.C. communities push back against climate change damages campaign

Activists copying California case that was tossed out of court

Most Read