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Terrorism & Security

Black Bloc tactics mar Canada's G-20 summit

At this weekend's G-20 summit, small bands of protesters wearing black clothes broke off from the main protests to rampage violently in what is known as Black Bloc tactics.

By Correspondent / June 27, 2010

Police officers in riot gear walk in front of a burning police car during a protest against the G20 summit in downtown Toronto, Saturday. Protestors using Black Bloc tactics rampaged the city after breaking off from peaceful protests.

Mark Blinch/Reuters

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Small bands of violent anarchists disrupted larger peaceful protests at the G20 summit in Toronto Saturday, destroying shops and burning police cars. Police said they expect more violence Sunday on the last day of the gathering of the world’s wealthiest countries.

Police arrested 412 people Saturday and into the early hours of Sunday morning when peaceful protests turned violent, reports The Canadian Press.

Between 5,000 and 10,000 people gathered to march in protest of the summit, were met by 5,500 police officers. Most were protesting for social causes, and say G20 policies favor the rich at the expense of the poor. But small bands of violent protesters in black clothes and masks broke off from the main protests and rampaged violently through downtown Toronto, reports The Toronto Sun.

The violence came despite the $1 billion price tag for security at the summit, which followed a G8 summit outside Toronto. Violent protests are common at such meetings, but fewer protesters showed up in Toronto than have congregated at previous summits. Nonetheless, some were able to inflict extensive damage by using a tactic known as “Black Bloc.”

What is 'Black Bloc'?

The Toronto Star reports that the tactic, common in international protests, involves protesters dressing in black and moving as groups to perform violent acts, then removing the black clothing to blend in with the larger protest crowd to avoid apprehension by the police. On Saturday, dozens of such protesters huddled together in a park to change into their street clothes, leaving the black garments behind and disappearing into the crowds.

The Star reports that many of the “Black Bloc” protesters Saturday were anarchists. Many have attended protests peacefully throughout the week before their rampage Saturday, reports the Star.

Expressed through an assortment of chants, the group’s causes are many: They’re anti-capitalist, anti-police, anti-colonial. While the labour members marched to have their voices heard, the anarchists are resolute that world leaders aren’t listening and don’t care.
 
 Any change has to come at their own hands.
 
 For the most part, their targets are specific and symbolic: As the crowd tore across Queen St., they hammered police cruisers, attacked banks and other corporate companies. Yet they left a record store, a local tavern and an independent hardware shop untouched.

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