A Saturday St. Patrick’s Day celebration in London, Ontario turned into a riot near Fanshawe College in which around 1, people took part in igniting a TV news van and throwing objects at police officers on the scene.
The riot has thus far resulted in 11 arrests — seven of them Fanshawe students — but authorities are combing through mountains of material on social networking sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter in preparation of another round of arrests.
CTV News, the organization whose van was swarmed and set on fire, reports that some of those involved in the mob have been bragging about their participation on Facebook and Twitter, quoting one tweet: ”Im prob on the news for flipping that car.”
One person was reportedly taken to the hospital for burns, but otherwise there were no serious injuries reported in the incident, save bumps and bruises sustained by rioters, spectators and police as a result of some of the debris launched by revelers.
Authorities have pledged that those involved in the riot will face punishment. Fanshawe College president Howard Rundle has announced the suspension of eight students so far, and London mayor Joe Fontana addressed the perpetrators directly in a speech regarding the estimated $1, in damage they caused: “Believe me: you will pay in one way, shape or form.”
Below is a video uploaded to YouTube in which the CTV News van, already aflame, suddenly erupts in an astounding ball of fire amid the screams and cheers of rioters. At the end of the video, a fire truck sounds its siren and begins to wend its way to the burning vehicle.
The London Police Service has not yet responded to a call regarding their methods in searching for leads via social media or the success they’ve had in identifying rioters, but if the volume of material on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook is any indication, more arrests are to come.