Gastown Riot

The Gastown Riot, also known as the Battle of Maple Tree Square, took place in Vancouver on August 7, 1971. Approximated 2,000 people had gathered for a peaceful demonstration in the Gastown neighbourhood.  The Smoke-In protest had been organized in support of marijuana legalisation and as a reaction to recent Vancouver-area drug raids.  The protest ended in violence when four police officers arrived on horseback, followed by more in riot gear. There were widespread arrests and injuries, including incidents of extreme brutality.  Activist groups, such as the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, were vocal in defending protesters against police brutality.  The Dohm Inquiry that investigated these events labelled it a “police riot.”

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