• The Hollywood Reporter on LinkedIn
  • Follow THR on Pinterest

G20 rioters being held at Toronto Film Studios

Soundstages serving as temporary jail for 580 protesters

TORONTO -- The former Toronto Film Studios saw much drama unfold on its soundstages over the years until a 2008 closing, including shoots for "Cinderella Man" and "The Incredible Hulk."

But none came close to the clash that took place Sunday outside the facility's gates on Eastern Avenue as G20 Summit protesters and tactical riot police fought a pitch battle complete with tear gas and rubber bullets used to restore order.

The former studio soundstages are serving as a temporary jail for around 580 G20 demonstrators so far arrested by police over the weekend as world leaders gathered in a nearby security zone to debate key political and economic issues.

Also swept up in the G20 police dragnet have been accredited media, including Jesse Rosenfeld, a freelance journalist with Britain's Guardian newspaper, and a CTV producer arrested on live TV Saturday night while CTV reporter Scott Laurie protested without success to nearby police officers.

On Sunday morning, around 100 protesters turned up at the detention center on Eastern Avenue to support the arrested demonstrators, shouting "let them go" and "free our comrades" as police officers guarded the main gates.

As TV reporters and camera crews looked on, unmarked vans sped into view to release plainclothes police offices that made a series of snatch arrests of protest ring-leaders.

That was followed by hundreds of riot police quickly flooding Eastern Avenue to disperse the latest outbreak of rampaging protesters at the G20 Summit.

Canadian all-news TV channels continued Sunday with round-the-clock coverage of riot police enforcing a security lockdown in downtown Toronto, while city workers swept up broken storefront glass after widespread rioting Saturday that went into the night.

TV reporters also struggled Sunday to cover the politics taking place inside the G20 Summit gathering, as normally quiet downtown streets that have served as the backdrop for many a Hollywood film and TV shoot were turned into a virtual war zone.