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Police expand blame in Vancouver riots

June 21, 2011 at 9:00 AM
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia, June 21 (UPI) -- Vancouver police now say the rioting that followed last week's NHL championship hockey game wasn't started by a small core of organizers.

At a news conference, Police Chief Jim Chu said after days of investigation and reviews of tips and social media videos and photographs of the rioting Wednesday night, police were revising their initial suspicions, the Vancouver Sun reported.

"Based on the best information we had the following morning, we stated that the instigators among the mob were 'criminals, anarchists and thugs who came to town bent on destruction and mayhem' regardless of the outcome of the game," Chu said. "While we are still standing by that observation about the instigators, we are learning that most of the people that joined in the riot and that have now been charged represent a wider spectrum of young people, many of whom do not have criminal records."

Mayhem erupted in the crowd of 100,000 people when the Vancouver Canucks lost 4-0 to the Boston Bruins in the final game of the Stanley Cup finals. Vehicles were overturned and torched, windows were smashed and stores were looted.

At least 150 people were injured and about 100 were arrested during the rioting. The number of arrests has grown to 117 as some people have been turning themselves in, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. said.

Chu urged other rioters to find a lawyer and turn themselves in to avoid public embarrassment.

"If you come in voluntarily you can do so discreetly and at a time that is convenient for you," the police chief said. "If you wait until we find you -- and we will find you -- we will arrest you in a public manner suitable to the public crimes you have committed."

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