Vancouver Riot Kiss: Photo Goes Viral, But Couple Says They Were Knocked Down by Police
Photo in Vancouver after Stanley Cup goes viral online.
June 17, 2011— -- Just who were those two young lovers? And how did they get caught up in a kiss, right there in the middle of the riots in Vancouver, British Columbia? There was anger and violence all around them -- the Vancouver Canucks had just lost to the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of hockey's Stanley Cup finals.
The picture of them, by Vancouver freelance photographer Richard Lam, has gone viral on the Web. One headline called it "love among the ruins." Even the young man's father put up a Facebook post: "Hows that for making love not war!"
But they now say the story is not what people thought.
The lovers were identified as Scott Jones of Perth, Australia, and Alexandra Thomas, a recent graduate of the University of Guelph in Ontario.
"The riot police ran on top of us," said Jones in a telephone interview with ABC News. "They ran us over.
"We were knocked over, and I was just trying to calm her down, because as I'm sure you can imagine, she was somewhat distraught."
Jones said he remembered kissing Thomas, and was completely surprised by the photograph.
Brett Jones, Scott's father in Australia, said the couple was not hurt. "Alex is a little sore on the leg, but otherwise okay," he said.
Scott's mother, Megan Jones, was interviewed by Australia's Channel 9. "I knew it was him because he doesn't have a lot of clothes with him and he always puts on the same thing."
At the time of the interview, she had not reached Scott yet, and said she thought her son had been photographed in an amorous moment. "It is something he would do, that's our boy," she said. "He has always lived in his own world, he's special like that. He doesn't always connect with what going on around him."
Lam, the photographer, said he didn't think about the picture because there was such violence around him. Almost 150 people required hospital treatment and close to 100 were arrested in the riots that followed Wednesday night's game.
Almost 150 Injured in Vancouver Hockey Riot
Police struggled to contain the crowd with tear gas as fires erupted in busy downtown intersections. Storefronts were smashed by looters grabbing everything in sight.
The city's mayor, Gregor Robertson, described the rioting hockey fans as "hooligans."
"It's terrible," Canucks captain Henrik Sedin said. "This city and province has a lot to be proud of, the team we have and the guys we have in here. It's too bad."
"This is wrong for the city, this isn't the reputation we want," one Vancouver resident told ABC News. "This is not what the people want. Are you embarrassed? Yes, I'm embarrassed."
Meanwhile, the photograph of the young couple has spread worldwide -- even though the family now says Scott Jones was just trying to comfort Alex Thomas.
"He was certainly trying to look after her," said Brett Jones.
ABC News' Ryan Creed and The Associated Press contributed to this report.