Booze, thugs and 155,000 people: Vancouver riot examined

Sep 2, 2011

Blame massive crowding, alcohol and inadequate police response as the main causes of the recent Stanley Cup riot in Vancouver, B.C.

An exhaustive review of the riot sponsored by the Province of British Columbia, City of Vancouver and Vancouver Police Board was made public yesterday. 

The review finds that on June 15th, an estimated 155,000 people gathered near the public library in downtown Vancouver to watch the game. A jumbo screen there could be easily seen four blocks away.

The crowd was considerably more than the area can physically handle and people arrived earlier than expected. The review says this prevented police from initiating proper crowd control.

A lot of drinking

Too much rampant and open alcohol consumption took place and because of the large number of people and small venue, it could not be stopped by authorities. The review also found police were in an impossible situation, despite 928 officers eventually being deployed.

For future special events, shutting down liquor stores and banning alcohol on public transit are among 53 recommendations made in the report.

Thugs and booze

One of the review’s Co-Chairs is John Furlong, who led Vancouver’s Olympic committee. He blames drunk thugs as the main cause of the riot.

“The night was fueled by alcohol and there were people who came downtown intent to cause harm and do damage and they did it,” he said. “Alcohol gave them the bravado and courage to do the kind of things that they did that night.”

The review also says there is no reason why Vancouver cannot host such an event in the future, with better planning.