Here are the latest developments related to the “Rolling Thunder” protests against COVID-19 public health measures and other issues taking place in Ottawa. All Eastern Hours: 4:30 p.m.
Here are the latest developments related to the “Rolling Thunder” protests against COVID-19 public health measures and other issues taking place in Ottawa. All times Eastern:
A large rally against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and restrictions has just ended on Parliament Hill, but hundreds of protesters remain.
The crowd spread over Parliament Hill and much of Wellington Street.
Today’s protest was relatively calm and peaceful.
Organizers say they plan to lead the crowd on a march through downtown Ottawa before heading to a rural area outside the city for an “after party.”
When asked if protesters should return home after the day’s events, Freedom Fighters Canada spokesperson Bethan Nodwell said nothing else was planned except for Sunday morning church service.
Massive crowds have now gathered on Parliament Hill and are pouring into nearby Wellington Street.
The participants chant “Freedom!” as speakers thank supporters of February’s “Freedom Convoy” and call for an end to COVID-19 vaccination mandates.
Some spectators wave large Canadian flags while others seem to recall the February convoy protests by carrying or carrying jerry cans of fuel.
The police are distributed in the peaceful crowd.
1:15 p.m. The Ottawa Police Service says a person has been arrested for traveling downtown in violation of previous release conditions.
The force reminds anyone banned from being in the city center as part of their release conditions stemming from charges during February’s “Freedom Convoy” that they must obey the rules.
Police said in a tweet that anyone found violating these terms will be arrested and charged.
The tweets provided no further information about the arrest.
The Ottawa Police Service says one person has been arrested following an incident on Elgin Street.
The force said in a tweet that an investigation was underway, but did not release any further details about what happened or whether the arrest was related to the “Rolling Thunder” rally.
Meanwhile, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said today’s protests appeared peaceful so far.
Although Watson was repeatedly interrupted by protesters, the mayor told reporters that the police presence appeared to be sufficient to prevent the rally from escalating to the level of the “Freedom Convoy” protests in February, which took hold of the city for weeks.
Hundreds of protesters are now heading to Parliament Hill after gathering along Elgin Street near the Lord Elgin Hotel to cheer on a full-throttle motorcade.
Some bikers held out their hands to the five members of the restless crowd as they sped past.
Police said in a tweet that the motorcycle rally was now over and drivers should expect delays as officers work to reopen the streets.
Freedom Fighters Canada, a group behind the rally, says a march on Parliament Hill is scheduled for 2 p.m.
11:30 a.m. The “Rolling Thunder” Veterans Ceremony at the National War Memorial is now over and hundreds of supporters lined up around Parliament Hill to watch a motorbike convoy pass through the area.
Retired st. Christopher Deering laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to “take over” the war memorial after veterans who were part of the Freedom Convoy protest in February were reportedly evicted from the site by police along with the rest of the protesters.
Several veterans gave speeches in support of the three-week Freedom Convoy protest earlier this year, which prompted the federal government to invoke the Emergencies Act for the first time.
After the speeches and the wreath laying, the crowd of hundreds moved a few blocks south to watch a motorbike convoy ride through town.
Police formed a line to clear hundreds of protesters from the streets so the motorbikes could pass.
The Rideau Center in Ottawa has reopened.
The city’s transit agency tweeted Saturday that the downtown mall is back after closing last night following a clash between police and “Rolling Thunder” protesters.
The Ottawa Police Service, meanwhile, is advising residents to expect delays and traffic disruptions downtown as much of downtown remained closed to vehicles participating in the protests. .
The force said in a tweet that its officers spotted protesters wearing protective gear and reminded participants to obey the law and follow police instructions.
The Ottawa Police Service said it will maintain a “strong presence” in the city’s downtown core as the “Rolling Thunder” rally enters its second day of protests.
The force posted a tweet this morning saying its hate crimes unit is on the ground and anyone displaying hate symbols will be charged.
Meanwhile, a group of about 100 protesters gathered at the National War Memorial for a 10 a.m. event meant to honor veterans who they say were evicted from the site by police during the “Freedom Convoy” of February.
A few dozen counter-protesters gathered across the street and shouted at them to go home, while police formed a line in the middle of the road to separate the two groups.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on April 30, 2022.
The Canadian Press