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.
The protesters were not able to break through the barrier surrounding the area where world leaders are meeting, and instead turned to smashing windows and looting banks and other stores; setting fire to at least four police cruisers; and throwing bricks, rocks, and bottles of urine at police. According to CNN, police used tear gas, pepper spray, and bean-bag pellets against the protesters. Many had soaked their clothes in vinegar in anticipation of tear gas.