VANCOUVER, B.C. – Vancouver Police have laid more charges following last weekend’s anti-Olympic riot, and this time officers say they’ve got the group’s ringleader.
Police say the officers watched a person well known to them lead a group of protesters dressed in black set up a barbed-wire barricade in a downtown intersection last Friday, the day of the opening ceremonies.
The barricade forced the torch relay to be diverted.
The next day, police say the same man was seen dressed entirely in black again and using an air horn to tell others in the crowd to feel free to vandalize.
Police say in a news release issued Tuesday that the man led the group on a march that included spray painting cars, breaking windows, looting a downtown pharmacy and other damage.
Guillame Joseph-Marc Beaulieu, 27, of Vancouver, has been charged with mischief over $5,000.
Police say he’s among 11 people arrested as a result of the protests last Friday and Saturday.
They include five people charged with disturbing the peace, assault, assaulting a police officer and mischief.
Additionally, Daniel Myers, 22, from Shoreline, Wash., is charged with possession of a dangerous weapon and possession of a prohibited weapon. Myers is being detained relating to an immigration matter.
More than 1,000 people marched peacefully through downtown Vancouver on Friday with the aim of drawing attention to a variety of complaints, including poverty and unresolved aboriginal land claims.
The next day, a group of about 200 gathered and several were photographed smashing windows at a downtown superstore selling Olympic merchandise.
A group calling itself the Black Bloc issued a news release Tuesday morning saying that breaking windows does not amount to violence.
“We proved that $1 billion of ‘security’ couldn’t prevent us from clogging the heart of downtown Vancouver and crashing a party of 100 000 people – and getting away with it,” the group wrote in a news release.
Those representing other groups critical of the Games have worked to distance themselves from the Black Bloc.