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Anti Olympic Group firebomb Bank

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Anarchist group claims Ottawa bank firebombing

OTTAWA - An anti-establishment group claimed responsibility for the firebombing of an Ottawa bank early Tuesday morning, and vowed to "be there" at the upcoming G8 and G20 summits in Ontario in an online video that shows a massive fireball exploding from the front window of a Royal Bank of Canada branch.

In the short clip, one person emerges from the branch's side door and is then silhouetted against a vivid orange flash. Another person follows him out the door and the pair begin to cross the street.

The video abruptly cuts to scrolling text.

"The Vancouver Olympic Games are over, but a torch is still burning," the text reads.

Firefighters responded to the blaze at about 3:30 a.m. local time on Tuesday, and had it under control within about a half-hour. No one was injured.

The video was posted on an anti-establishment website at around midday Tuesday. It appears to have been shot on a hand-held camera.

"Resistance continues," the text reads. "An RBC branch can be found in every corner of Kanada [sic]."

In the next paragraph, it mentions the G8 and G20 conferences that are to take place at the end of June in Huntsville, Ont., and Toronto, respectively, where "‘leaders and bankers [will] make decisions that will further their policies of exploitation of people and the environment.

"We will be there."

When told of the video's existence, lead investigator Sgt. David Christie of the Ottawa police said the attack was "one of many theories put out there [as to] what the motive would be."

He confirmed traces of accelerant.

Police said witnesses saw three or four people leave the branch at around the time of the fire, then enter a sport utility vehicle.

RBC had been a favoured target for anarchists in recent years. In 2008 the firebombed Ottawa branch had its windows smashed by brick throwers.

RBC is Canada's largest bank and has been criticized by groups for things such as its involvement with this year's Olympics in Vancouver, financing the Canadian oilsands and its claims to be one of the country's most environmentally friendly employers.

Gillian McArdle, a spokeswoman for RBC, would not comment the video and was unwilling to say if the bank would be stepping up security.

Fire officials pegged the damage at $200,000 to the building and $100,000 to contents.

Fire officials said the blaze began in the foyer of the building. Smoke and heat damage then spread throughout the branch, leaving windows cracked and shattered. Two ABMs in the front of the branch were charred almost beyond recognition.

Ottawa Citizen

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