March 17, 2012 will forever more be an infamous day in London, Ontario. As the celebrations for St. Patrick’s Day were wrapping up, several hundred London residents, as well as Fanshawe and Western students incited a riot that you could very well see on the big screen, in theatres today. Yes, London might as well have played host to a live recording of Project X, the recently released movie about a house party gone wrong.
On Fleming Drive, near Fanshawe College, rioters were contained to a 1 block region in order to control the chaos. 50 police in riot gear were sent to the scene in order to reestablish some semblance of law and order as the riotous mob overturned a parked CTV truck, igniting an inferno that would continually be fuelled over the next several hours by exploding bottles of alcohol, a propane tank, scrap wood, tables, chairs, and even sofas. As the inferno grew, some of the inebriated rioters happened to get too close to the blaze, causing some burns early on in the night.
The riot-police presence indeed turned out to be futile, possibly even a catalyst for the rioters actions, as after an hour, the onslaught of rioters throwing bottles, shards of glass, rocks and other assorted items forcing the 50 officers to retreat and let the events of the night run their course. As the night grew longer and the glass was being thrown, more and more participants were leaving the scene with injuries including: glass splinters, shards stuck in legs and arms and one man left the scene running for the emergency room due to a shard of glass protruding from just under his eye. With numbers of those participating in the riot ranging between 300 and 1,000, the police just didn’t have enough power to take control of the situation and just let the event fizzle out until the wee hour of 4 am when the police gained the upper hand number-wise and took control of the situation, putting an end to this riotous affair.