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G20 field reports: Amber Hildebrandt

By Amber Hildebrandt, CBC News

CBC's Amber Hildebrandt is on the the streets of Toronto and will be filing updates during the G20 summit. Here's the latest.

amber-hilderbrandt-52.jpgIt was a pink VW bug -- spotted from their hotel window -- that drew Art and Cathy Romack down into Toronto's streets and into the thick of the protest.

The couple from Dallas came to Toronto without realizing the G20 summit was on -- until it took them five hours to get from Pearson International Airport to their downtown hotel.

"We came for the cooler weather, " said Art, noting they booked the three-day vacation a month earlier.

The two followed the convertible, pink VW bug as it wound its way down Queen Street, west of John Street, into the downtown's outdoor shopping heartland.

The VW -- decorated inside and out in plastic flowers and butterflies -- pulled up directly in front of the riot police. It quickly helped dissipate tension after the latest charge by riot police, an attempt to keep crowds from a burning police car farther up on the street.

As the bug drove away, Stacy Myers, the driver, said she and her three friends from Kitchener, Ont., were just "trying to go for dinner" in their "peace and love"-mobile. And off she drove, back through the crowds, crowds that were largely curious sightseers towards the later evening. At least until the police began a concentrated charge, periodically pushing and chasing the protesters out of the area.

The Romacks eventually left their hangout near Second Cup on John and Queen, forced out by police, but not before giving this summary of their impressions:

"Everybody's very friendly and it's exciting," said Cathy. "This is the nicest riot we've come to."

Amber reports from @CBCReporter


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