Image: A protester smashes a window in Toronto's downtown
Geoff Robins  /  AFP - Getty Images
A protester smashes a window in downtown Toronto, Canada, on Saturday.
msnbc.com news services
updated 6/27/2010 12:11:40 PM ET 2010-06-27T16:11:40

The arrest tally from rioting in downtown Toronto climbed above 500 on Sunday, including four who climbed through the sewer system and emerged near the lock-down area where world leaders were attending the G-20 summit.

Police said they hoped protests planned for Sunday would be quiet, but after a day when they admitted they had lost control of a violent and fast-moving crowd, the arrests came fast.

"What we're prepared for today is more of what we saw yesterday," a police spokesman said. "We'd like to see demonstrations remain peaceful."

Four people were detained in the middle of the night as they emerged from a manhole near the 10-foot fence sealing off the area where the Group of 20 rich and developing nations are meeting. Police said they were urgently sealing sewer access near the zone.

Toronto Police Sgt. Tim Burrows said police made at least 70 arrests in a Sunday morning raid on a building on the campus of the University of Toronto, where they seized a cache of "street-type weaponry" such as bricks, sticks and rocks.

"We think we put a dent in their numbers with this and with the arrests that happened overnight," Burrows said.

The riots started on Saturday afternoon after groups of masked anarchists broke away from a larger, peaceful demonstration that was protesting against the G-20, which ends its meeting on Sunday. They smashed the windows of stores and banks and torched police cars in a protest that police finally brought under control with tear gas and mass arrests.

On Sunday, protesters carrying banners saying "Free Our Comrades" marched on the temporary detention center set up near Toronto's port area. Police fired bean bags and tear gas to disperse them.

Those arrested face charges ranging from mischief to assaulting police, police said.

"What we saw yesterday ... is a bunch of thugs that pretend to have a difference of opinion with policies and instead choose violence in order to express those so-called differences of opinion," Dimitri Soudas, spokesman for Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, told a news conference.

The roving band of protesters torched four police cruisers and shattered shop windows with baseball bats and hammers for blocks, including at police headquarters, then shed some of their black clothes, revealing other garments, and continued their rampage.

Image: Protesters run from police
Don Emmert  /  AFP - Getty Images
Protesters run from police in Toronto on Saturday evening.

Police used shields, clubs, tear gas and pepper spray to push back the protesters who tried to head south toward the security fence surrounding the Group of 20 summit site. Some demonstrators hurled rocks and bottles at police.

The vandalism occurred just blocks from where U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders were meeting and staying.

Thousands of police headed to Toronto to reinforce security there after the smaller Group of Eight summit ended Saturday in Huntsville, Ontario, about 140 miles away. Security was being provided by an estimated 19,000 law enforcement officers drawn from across Canada, and security costs were estimated at more than $900 million.

Saturday's protests began with a peaceful march, sponsored by labor unions and dubbed family friendly, that was the largest demonstration planned during the summit weekend. Its organizers had hoped to draw a crowd of 10,000, but only about half that number turned out on a rainy day.

Police in riot gear and riding bikes formed a blockade, keeping protesters from approaching the steel and concrete security fence a few blocks south of the march route. Police closed a stretch of Toronto's subway system along the protest route and the largest shopping mall downtown closed after the protest took a turned for the worse.

The black-clad demonstrators broke off from the larger crowd of peaceful protesters and began torching police cars and smashing shop windows.

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair said the goal of the militant protesters was to draw police away from the security perimeter of the summit so that fellow protesters could attempt to disrupt the meeting.

Some police officers were struck by rocks and bottles and assaulted, but none was injured badly enough to stop working, Blair said.

"We have never seen that level of wanton criminality and vandalism and destruction on our streets," Blair said.

Previous global summit protests have turned violent. In 1999, 50,000 protesters shut down World Trade Organization sessions in Seattle as police fired tear gas and rubber bullets. There were some 600 arrests and $3 million in property damage. One man died after clashes with police at a G-20 meeting held in London in April 2009.

At the September G-20 summit in Pittsburgh, police fired canisters of pepper spray and smoke and rubber bullets at marchers.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Video: G-20 protest turns violent

  1. Closed captioning of: G-20 protest turns violent

    >>> g-20 summit under way in canada under tighter security today, here is a look at drama that unfolded during saturday's protest. police with shields on horses. demonstrators torched police cars and smashed windows in the downtown area . now joining me is kevin tibbles. what did you see yesterday? you were right in the middle of things as things got out of control at some point.

    >> well, i am not so sure to say that the toronto police were taken by surprise by this, but it looked like a fairly sort of like how to run a military operation 101, because when the actual parade with the labor unions and the like, people with kids in strollers and older people, making their way through the streets of toronto, and then following this designated parade route, you could see that the black bloc people and these are the same folks that we saw in vancouver and pittsburgh and the like, they sort of moved further and further back and further and further away of the demonstration as the demonstration went on, and, of course, once the parade route started to go away from the fenced-in area where the g-201 happening down by the lake, that's when the black bloc people sort of made their move, and that's when the banks got hit, starbucks got hit and the poor officers at the back, whether they knew it or not, there are a lot of conspiracy theories floating around, that's when the police cars got torched. it got out of hand and what happened to us, all of a sudden the riot police and the mounted units of the police department ended up on the other side and pushed them right up. we got helmed in on the same side of -- of the demonstrators at this point. but as someone that has absolutely no knowledge of what went on in the planning process of the black bloc , i can probably suggest to you by the time this thing heated up and ended up in the confrontation with cops going in and coming back, i would bet that the people that were breaking the windows and burning the cars were probably having a latte down the street by the time all of that was over. the police chief today in toronto says he expects more violence today. i don't know why he says that except that he says he doesn't think that the people who did this yesterday have finished with their mission, because the g-20 is still going on. a couple of interesting points this morning on the other side of us at the university of toronto , they have been arrested as many as 70 people over there for what reason i don't know at this point in time, but they say they have found some weapons. they also dragged four people out of a man hole or a sewer late last night. and they are now welding up a number of those, and they are not saying what those people were doing down there. but they say u.s. a security site. the g-20 is still taking place a half mile from where we're speaking to you now. there will be a demonstration or march towards the temporary holding facility where a lot of the people who were taken off the streets, some 500 of them yesterday, are being held. but, again, there are police everywhe everywhere, are you being stopped, searched, being asked for i. d. but at this point in time, it is a pleasant sunday morning. alex.

    >> thank you very much, kevin

Photos: Security tight for G-20 summit

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  1. Police in Toronto, Canada, arrest a woman on Sunday, June 27, outside a building where others detained during the G-20 summit were being held. (Warren Toda / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Police speed off in an unmarked van after a "snatch and Grab" arrest of a protestor in Toronto on Sunday. (Jemal Countess / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Protesters run from police who were surging with shields and clubs during the G-20 summit on Saturday in Toronto. (Don Emmert / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Protesters stage a sit-in in front of riot police during a demonstration in Toronto on Saturday. (Christinne Muschi / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Protestors burn a police car in Toronto on Saturday during demonstrations as the G-20 Summit gets underway. (Gerry Broome / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Riot police watch as two police vehicles set on fire by anarchist demonstrators burn in the midst of protests on the streets of downtown Toronto, during the G20 summit in Toronto on June 26. (Jill Kitchener / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Police officers clash with protesters during a demonstration of the G20 summit in Toronto on June 26. (Christinne Muschi / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Protesters and police clash during a march against the G-8 and the G-20 summits in Toronto, Canada, on Friday, June 25. The G-8 summit is Friday and Saturday in Huntsville, Ontario, about two hours' drive north of Toronto. The G-20 summit is Saturday and Sunday in Toronto. (Sergei Ilnitsky / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Police officers use their bicycles to control demonstrators during a protest ahead of the G-8 and G-20 summits, in downtown Toronto on Friday. (Mark Blinch / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. A woman prepares a prop coffin before a rally ahead the G-8 and G-20 summits on Friday. (Mike Segar / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Police and protesters clash in downtown Toronto on Friday. (Mike Segar / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. President Barack Obama is greeted by officials upon his arrival in Toronto on Friday. (Charles Dharapak / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. A Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer salutes as Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his wife, Svetlana, disembark at Toronto's airport Friday. (Dmitry Astakhov / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. A family crosses a largely empty street in downtown Toronto on Friday. (Christinne Muschi / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. The helicopter in center carries British Prime Minister David Cameron after his arrival in Toronto on Thursday for the summits. (Justin Lane / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. City of Toronto workers clear rocks from gardens in a park close to the security zone around the G-20 site on Friday to prevent protesters from using them. (Geoff Robins / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Police officers stand with riot gear as demonstrators move through the streets of Toronto on Thursday, protesting for indigenous people's rights and against the upcoming summits. (Carolyn Kaster / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Protester Rachelle Sauve yells during a march through the streets of Toronto for indigenous people's rights on Thursday. (Carolyn Kaster / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. A police officer patrols a security fence in downtown Toronto that walls off an area where the G-20 summit will be held. (Christinne Muschi / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Protesters march from the Ontario legislature building in Toronto. (Jacques Boissinot / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. A police officer stands by items removed from a car they seized near the intersection of Scott Street and Esplanade in Toronto. The driver was arrested, but police said the incident wasn't related to the G-20 summit. Also in the car were gas cans, a chainsaw and a crossbow. (Carolyn Kaster / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Canadian police arrest the driver of a car laden with five gas cans, a chainsaw and a home-made crossbow close to the Toronto center where G-20 leaders will meet. (Geoff Robins / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. World Vision activists dressed as "pregnant with promises" G-8 leaders demonstrate in Toronto. (Christinne Muschi / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
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