B.C. Premier Christy Clark has asked spectators who took videos and photos of the looting, vandalism and violence to let the police see what they have.
“I’d like to make this call out to everybody who may have some evidence for police,” Ms. Clark told reporters Thursday before walking through the streets with boarded-up storefronts and burnt out vehicles. “Make sure we see those pictures of the people that incited this.”
Ms. Clark also had a message for those who were involved in breaking windows and grabbing merchandise from the stores.
“If you were a part of this, and I’m speaking to people who may have been responsible last night, I promise you this. You won’t be able to live in anonymity, you won’t be behind your bandana or under your hoodie.
“We are going to do everything we can to make sure the public understands who you were. Your family, your friends, your employer will know you were a part of it. Because this cannot happen in our city. It isn’t the kind of city that I want to live in,” she said.
Earlier, Vancouver police chief Jim Chu said police believe “criminals, anarchists and thugs,” posing as Canucks fans, were responsible for the riot Wednesday evening following the Stanley Cup game.
Chief Chu also had some harsh words for the hundreds of spectators, who stood around and took video of others smashing plate-glass windows of stores and igniting parked cars, including police cars.
Those who watched and those who cheered the rioters were responsible for the chaos, Chief Chu said Thursday.
Dismissing calls for his resignation and criticism of the police response, Chief Chu told reporters that police brought the disruptions under control in half the time that was required during the 1994 post-Stanley Cup final hockey riot although the riot on Wednesday involved more than three times the number of people.
The 1994 riots spanned six hours while this week's was brought under control in three, he said. "There are many Monday morning quarterbacks,” he also said.
With the Vancouver Canucks expected to win the Stanley Cup for the first time in its 40 year history, the city set up a “fanzone” with jumbo screens for crowds to watch the finals. The enclosed area, which was filled to capacity during the game, was on the widest street in the downtown area, Georgia Street, which is adjacent to the downtown’s commercial core. Last Friday, a crowd of 100,000 people watched the game and then dispersed without any major incidents.
Tens of thousands of people were milling around in the streets after the Boston Bruins beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 in the final game of the Stanley Cup. The crowd turned ugly moments after the game ended. A car was turned over and suddenly consumed in flames.
Thick plumes of smoke from numerous fires rose over the downtown area, as darkness closed in, which seemed to embolden the rioters who surrounded burning cars, whooping with delight as flames rose in the air. Pockets of looting, vandalism and violence erupted in several different places.
Police were in the downtown area in large numbers but responded with restraint initially, allowing the first vehicle to burn more than five minutes without intervening. Firefighters fearing for their safety did not respond immediately to reports of fire.
Chief Chu said police were reluctant to immediately wade into the crowds to deal with troublemakers because it would have been too challenging to separate the instigators from non-instigators.
Also, he said police had to stand back and figure out how to best deal with the situation, deploying officers in a "strategic manner."
About 100 people were arrested Wednesday night and police anticipate more arrests following further investigations, Chief Chu said. Police have appealed to anyone who has taken video of the riots to share their footage with them.
Fifteen cars were burned, he said. Nine police officers were injured, including an officer that was hit in the head.