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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — More than 200 masked Olympic protesters splattered red paint and smashed windows of a popular downtown department store Saturday on the first day of competition at the Vancouver Games.
Police say the group marched through the upscale shopping district, vandalizing cars and stores. Witnesses say protesters threw metal newspaper boxes into the display windows of Hudson's Bay Company, where Olympic souvenirs are sold.
Police in riot gear quickly moved in and quashed the protest. Police Chief Jim Chu said seven protesters were arrested on a variety of charges, and they were being processed. One of the protesters faces weapons possession charges. Chu said the protester had a bicycle chain wrapped around his fist and was threatening passers-by.
None of the protesters were immediately identified.
Witnesses said nobody appeared injured. Afterward, guards stood in front of the broken windows, which were cordoned off with yellow police tape while Olympic tourists snapped photos. Afterward, workers removed the newspaper boxes.
The protest was organized by the Olympic Resistance Network to "disturb 'business as usual.'" The ORN is an umbrella group for many causes surrounding the games, ranging from environmental concerns to economic issues.
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