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Nearly 200 Arrested in Regatta Violence

July 27, 1987

KELOWNA, British Columbia (AP) _ About 190 people were arrested and 30 injured Sunday after more than 1,000 window-smashing, bottle-throwing revelers disrupted the annual Kelowna Regatta, authorities said.

It was the second year in a row that violence has marred the 81-year-old festival.

Canadian Mounted Police officers in riot gear used tear gas to break up the crowd, which had gathered for the drinking that has come to be associated with the regatta.

About 30 people suffered minor injuries, including three police officers, authorities said. Damage was estimated at about $500,000 Canadian, most of it broken glass.

The violence paralleled that of the 1986 regatta, despite efforts by city officials and police to avoid a repetition.

The violence broke out when mounted police tried to arrest a young man for disorderly conduct, authorities said. A crowd converged and jeered police, hurling bottles and cups and forcing the officers to retreat.

Forty officers in riot gear advanced on the crowd, which fled but regrouped several times. A searchlight-equipped helicopter hovered overhead while police hurled tear gas at the crowd, which sometimes sent the cannisters back.

Rioters smashed store windows, but no looting was reported. A truck-mounted water cannon in front of a liquor store drove back a crowd there.

One youth, who wouldn’t give his name, said he was in the crowd but didn’t follow those who vandalized buildings.

″Last year (the police) shut off the roads and they said everybody go home and everybody said forget it,″ he said. ″But this year the cops did everything they could, but when I heard some of (the crowd) saying ‘Let’s break windows and kill those pigs,’ and stuff like that, I don’t go for that.″

The regatta attracts thousands of visitors each summer for a series of water events, a parade, beauty pageant and banquets.

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