Toronto

Businesses board up storefronts downtown as police track online posts about protests

Some retail stores downtown boarded up their businesses on Monday evening as Toronto police monitored social media posts about possible protests.

Move follows violence in U.S. cities after death of George Floyd in police custody

Plywood is leaned against a wall of a retail store in downtown Toronto. Social media posts about possible protests, being monitored by Toronto police, have store owners on edge and getting prepared for property damage. (Turgut Yeter/CBC)

Some retail stores downtown boarded up their businesses on Monday evening as Toronto police monitored social media posts about possible protests.

The stores included Hudson's Bay on Queen Street West near Yonge Street and Best Buy on Dundas Street West near Bay Street.

Const. Laura Brabant, spokesperson for the Toronto Police Service, said police will keep the peace if there are protests downtown.

"We are aware of various social media posts regarding protest activity in the city. We will continue to monitor and respond, if necessary, to ensure the safety of everyone involved," Brabant said on Monday.

In several U.S. cities, riots have broken out in recent days over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minn.

Floyd died last week after he was pinned to the pavement by a police officer who put his knee on the handcuffed black man's neck until he stopped breathing. His death set off protests that spread from Minneapolis across the U. S.

Meantime, several thousand people engaged in a peaceful protest in Toronto over the weekend demanding answers about the death of 29-year-old Regis Korchinski-Paquet, also black. who fell from a balcony after police were called to her 24-floor apartment for a domestic incident.

Mike Wickenden, one of the owners of Stadia 24/7 Glass and Door, said Best Buy hired his company to board up its business. 

"They wanted to get prepared, just in case there was rioting like there was in the U.S.," he said.

Wickenden said his company has staff on standby around the clock if businesses want their stores boarded up. 

The firm already has trucks ready with plywood for clients who have requested that they would like the company to be on standby in case there is damage to their storefronts.

With files from The Associated Press

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