Coming from the UK, I’m used to seeing footage of riots. I remember Brixton, I remember the Miner’s Strike. I remember the endless procession of soccer hooligans, yelling, fighting, burning and , occasionally, looting too.
But not here.
Vancouver seemed to me to be West Coast personified. All the laid-back attitude of California, with the in-built politeness of Canada. When the USA beat Canada in the early rounds of the Winter Olympics Hockey, the crowds were good natured. I read a blog entry by an American expressing surprise at the Canadian fan who hugged him and said “You wait, man, we’ll be back!”.
As we watch the shots of the burning police cars, the mindless fools dancing round the flames, the CBC reporters repeat, in disbelieving tones, “All this is over a hockey match?”
I don’t think so. I think the game was the excuse, but the people carrying the fireworks, the ones who start to rock the cars, the ones who pick up the fence supports to smash the windows, they were going to do this anyway. Some people came to watch the game, some people came to start trouble.
Looking at Twitter and Facebook, the consensus seems to be that, even if you’re wearing a hockey shirt, if you’re part of the riot, then you’re not a fan. You’re an embarrassment.
Picture courtesy of Jack FM’s Facebook page. Speaking for my part of Vancouver, I’d like to apologise to everyone in the world. Come and visit when we’ve tidied up, really. It’s normally a great place.