June 26, 2010
Cops use tear gas, pepper spray on protesters
By IAN ROBERTSON, QMI Agency
TORONTO – Police in Toronto fired narrowly-focused tear gas, pepper spray and small bean bags at aggressive demonstrators during confrontations Saturday in downtown streets cordoned off during the G20 Summit.
RCMP Const. April Dequanne, of the Integrated Security Unit, told QMI Agency that no one was seriously hurt during an afternoon of confrontations that included protesters setting fire to five Toronto Police cruisers.
"There have been some minor injuries, including police officers," she said in an interview.
By 8:30 p.m., Dequanne said at least 33 people had been arrested and "the number is growing" as violence-oriented demonstrators continued to roam the streets.
By 10 p.m., Police Chief Bill Blair upped that number to 103 arrests, many from the radical faction of protesters using so-called ³black block² tactics.
She said police responded against individuals in the crowd, using "muzzle blasts" of tear gas, which were fired "to contain individual protesters, not larger groups." Blair confirmed the tear gas was used at Queen and Peter Sts.
Toronto officers with the Public Order Unit resorted to firing small bean bags instead of rubber bullets, Dequanne said.
An "Arwen" bag is also designed to target individuals.
A third non-lethal weapon used against unruly protesters were pepper guns, which deploy an "OC pepper spray" ‹ Oleoresin Capsicum ‹ with a narrow field, Dequanne said.
Police use special less-lethal launchers to fire the projectiles.
Dequanne said officers decided to focus on keeping people away from cruisers deliberately torched by gasoline-throwing arsonists instead of rushing to arrest them.
"We're not going in to fight them," she said. "It's a car."