Police chief defends Queen and Spadina Arrests

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair is defending the decision to corral and detain hundreds of people during a rainstorm last night.

Police in riot gear boxed in a group of people--many of whom seemed to be unlucky bystanders--between Queen Street and Spadina Avenue for nearly four hours. Blair says police gave individuals in the area three chances to leave before closing in and making arrests.

"It is a little bit frustrating to hear it suggested that a bunch of innocent people standing at a bus stop were caught up in this. It's simply not true," he said. "The reality is there was a large demonstration."

Authorities say that members of the Black Bloc had embedded themselves in the "peaceful protest," and that weapons had been recovered along the protest route.

'"The criminal conspiracy that existed on Saturday continued on Sunday," Blair said. "They didn't go away. The threat didn't go away. We were working very hard to prevent further destruction."

Toronto Police Staff Superintendent Jeff McGuire told the Star last night that some of the trapped "actually donned masks," while others were "people who chose not to disassociate themselves" with the Bloc.

Really? They're pulling the whole "with us or against us" thing? That's so Bush circa 2001.

"It's unfortunate some innocent people had to stand in the rain," Blair said. "We had to stand in the rain with them."

And they were only in full riot gear. Tough break.

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