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Mayor, top cop finger-pointing wrong, says anarchist

Anarchy is a lack of order by rejection of authority, which is one way of describing the violent June 15 rampage through downtown Vancouver after the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup final.

Mayor Gregor Robertson and Police Chief Jim Chu were quick to blame "anarchists" for the city's second such hockey riot. They even claimed that some of the perpetrators were also involved in unrest at the 2010 Winter Olympics and Toronto's G20 summit.

"They've offered no proof," challenged Garth Mullins, a frequent attendee of anti-globalization protests since APEC '97 who was a high-profile member of the Olympic Resistance Network.

Mullins blamed a potent mix of testosterone, booze and sports hype.

"There's a history of it, it happened in 1994: you invite 100,000 people downtown, you show them a game that involves a lot of fighting, you liquor them up," he said. "You don't need a cockamamie anarchist conspiracy."

Photographs and video shot by media outlets and citizens alike show the perpetrators were mainly males in their teens and 20s and dressed in Canucks' jerseys and T-shirts. They also didn't seem to care that their faces were visible.

"If anarchists are attending an event where there's going to be a police crackdown, you bring legal observers, you bring medics, you use your cell phone for communication, not for taking photos of yourself and putting them on Facebook," Mullins said. "Certainly people weren't wearing typical black bloc gear. There were none of the visual or organizational hallmarks."

Mullins said he avoided downtown on the night of game seven and was unhappy that vandals even hit the Central Library.

"Anarchists like libraries," he said. "We don't smash the windows in the libraries."

Veteran reporter Bob Mackin covered last week's riot for the New York Times and 2010 Olympics security issues for The Tyee and others. Follow him at

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