Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Vancouver moves to avoid riot repeat

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VANCOUVER - Still smarting from the memory of this spring's Stanley Cup riots, authorities in B.C.'s largest city vow there will be no repeat of post-championship hooliganism following the Grey Cup on Sunday.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, the Vancouver Police Department and Grey Cup officials all say they've learned lessons from the rioting that broke out in downtown Vancouver after the NHL Canucks lost the seventh game of the Stanley Cup final to the Boston Bruins.

Events outside BC Place will shut down before the game between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and hometown B.C. Lions. There will be no outdoor viewing screens, as those have been cited as a contributing factor to the riots in June.

The Vancouver Police Department has also made it clear authorities will not tolerate the consumption of alcohol in public.

But police also suggested it may be unfair to compare the November CFL championship, which arrives at the end of three weeks of playoffs, to the final game of the NHL playoffs, which lasted two-and-a-half months.

"There are many differences between the two events, one being the time of year and the weather and the other being that there are no outdoor viewing areas (or) venues for the event," said Const. Lindsey Houghton, a spokesman for the Vancouver police.

"So there is no reason why anyone would be outside to watch the game, as they did during the Cup finals. There is nowhere to do that."

Visiting fans say they believe crowds will behave well after the game, regardless of whether the Bombers or the Lions win the cup.

"They don't have any TVs set up. And it's not the same crowd," said Cameron Klause, an Edmonton Eskimos' fan who flew in from Alberta.

Houghton said the Grey Cup organizing committee has worked hard to ensure the event is fun and family-oriented.

"The policing component is just one small part of what is going to be a great weekend of football here in Vancouver," he said.

bartley.kives@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 26, 2011 A6

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