Police using tear gas, stun guns and powder-filled pellets clashed with demonstrators protesting the G-7 finance ministers meeting in Halifax in a series of confrontations Saturday.
What had been peaceful protests outside the World Trade and Convention Centre erupted shortly after the meeting there ended early Saturday afternoon.
Halifax Regional Police said there were 34 arrests but would not provide further details.
Two officers also suffered minor injuries, police said.
Between 200 and 300 people, carrying placards and beating buckets and drums, marched from the Halifax Commons to the trade centre to express dissatisfaction with G-7 economic and environmental policies.
One of them, Bill McKinnon of Dartmouth, said G-7 policies are "destroying the world" and pointed to the steel chains around his neck as a symbol of Canada being "chained to big business."
The crowd dismantled a metal barricade at the corner of Argyle and Carmichael streets and stood almost toe-to-toe with riot police wearing helmets and carrying shields and batons.
After nearly 30 minutes of chanting slogans and beating drums, a few protesters began throwing water balloons at police. Some pushing and shoving followed.
When some of the demonstrators tried to push through police lines, the tear gas was fired.
Several protesters, bystanders and journalists were affected by the gas, which drifted over the Grand Parade.
A makeshift first-aid station was set up, but it was not known how many people were treated.
Some protesters and passers-by slammed the police use of tear gas, but police said they acted only when protesters used force.
"Their training obviously paid off today, because for them to maintain their professionalism and so on under those conditions is commendable," said Halifax Regional Police Sgt. Don Spicer.
Sgt. Wayne Noonan, provincial spokesman for the RCMP, said it wasn't until the small group tried to break through the line "that we took the action that we did, to disperse what was becoming 'a volatile situation,' to quote one of our senior officers."
Denise Allen, a Halifax labour activist, said the police use of tear gas was unwarranted.
Ms. Allen said the "small beach balls" a few demonstrators threw at police were not enough to provoke officers to use the force they did.
"It's astounding that tear gas would be used in a place like Halifax," said Isaac Saney, a Halifax university instructor who got tear gas in his left eye. "For the most part, the demonstration was peaceful."
One man later threw a bundle of burning paper at RCMP riot squad members, but an officer simply stamped it out.
Demonstrators waved flags from various countries and chanted, "The people united will never be defeated" and "This is what democracy looks like" and "That is what hypocrisy looks like" while pointing at police.
The crowd was further riled after police made their first arrest of a man who had crossed a police line.
On a bullhorn, a man called the arrest "endemic and systematic violence of the state."
Some video cameramen and news photographers were also targets of some of the protesters' anger. Protesters tried to rip video equipment from cameramen and some photographers had their lenses spray-painted.
Several police dogs were on hand, their feet taped to protect them from any sharp debris.
A police paddy wagon was moved in after reports of protesters throwing ball bearings and golf balls.
The protesters held their ground on Argyle Street for nearly two hours before moving up to Brunswick Street.
Police eventually forced them to move on to Citadel Hill, until only one man remained in the middle of Carmichael and Brunswick.
The number of protesters thinned to about 75 as they reached Spring Garden Road, but there were more police vehicles, including three paddy wagons and other marked and unmarked cars, awaiting them.
The confrontation continued as the protest moved along downtown Halifax streets.
Several shoving matches ensued between police and unarmed protesters. Officers lunged into the crowd, grabbing demonstrators and making more arrests.
And the barking of police dogs heightened an already charged situation.
As police were placing one man under arrest and into a paddy wagon on Spring Garden Road, a Halifax Regional Police officer ordered a photographer not to take any pictures of the arrest and forced him to move along.
Those gathered in the predominantly younger crowd shouted such slogans as "This is not a police state - we have a right to demonstrate" and "Ain't no power like the power of the people, 'cause the power of the people don't stop."
A small group of seniors, known as the the Raging Grannies, belted out some songs about global economy and democracy during the Commons rally.
Marguerite Overington of Halifax, a spokeswoman for the group, said the women were angry because issues of education and the environment "are being completely overridden by the interests of big business."
"Really, in the end, if you don't have the earth to live on, what use is money?"
After hours of deafening noise, police appeared to have lost patience and forced the protesters to move.
They shouted back, saying the streets belonged to the people. But by about 6 p.m., the protest, which had started at noon, began to break up.
Even as the demonstrators were dispersing, the cleanup was underway. Among the few signs that there had been a protest were a few slogans on sidewalks and, on Citadel Hill, some balloons, coloured chalk and a bottle once filled with that liquid used to make bubbles.
FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. NoNonsense English offers this material non-commercially for research and educational purposes. I believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner, i.e. the media service or newspaper which first published the article online and which is indicated at the top of the article unless otherwise specified.