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Also: Police say they have arrested several people have been arrested on various charges, including assaulting an officer

Rolling Thunder protestors are seen in Ottawa, Ont., on April 30, 2022.Spencer Colby/The Globe and Mail

Hundreds of demonstrators have come to Ottawa this weekend to protest what they consider government overreach. The rally, called “Rolling Thunder Ottawa” got under way on Friday, when hundreds of motorcycles and other vehicles descended on the nation’s capital amid a heavy police presence. More events are planned for Saturday and Sunday. Local authorities and Ottawa residents have expressed concern that the biker rally could turn into another “occupation,” similar to the trucker convoy protest that brought the city’s downtown core to a standstill in February.

Latest updates on the ‘Rolling Thunder’ motorcycle convoy in Ottawa:

  • Ottawa Police Service said in a release Saturday night it closed off several highway off-ramps to the downtown core, with assistance from the Ontario Provincial Police and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. It said the measure will be in place Sunday morning
  • Police said they arrested a person downtown who was charged after attending the trucker convoy protest in February and released with conditions to stay away from the nation’s capital
  • 506 tickets had been issued and 39 vehicles towed in connection with the rally, Ottawa police said
  • A line of big rigs, campers and other trucks made their way into the city core Friday night; Protesters gathered around the trucks, and police in tactical gear formed a line and faced them down
  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday that he trusts police to enforce laws prohibiting the incitement of violence and propagation of hate this weekend

  • Police hold the line as protesters gather during a convoy-style protest participants are calling "Rolling Thunder", in Ottawa on Saturday.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

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10:25 p.m. ET

Police to control access to highway off-ramps through Sunday

Ottawa Police Service said in a release Saturday night it closed off several highway off-ramps to the downtown core, with assistance from the Ontario Provincial Police and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.

It said the measure “has been effective in minimizing the impact on our downtown,” and will be in place Sunday morning.

The police said “several convoys and groups” were spotted outside of Ottawa, and intelligence reports indicated that many have opted not to travel to Ottawa “based on the police operational posture.”


4:30 P.M. ET

Rally wraps up at Parliament Hill, protesters remain

A large rally against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and restrictions just wrapped up on Parliament Hill, but hundreds of protesters remain.

The crowd spread across Parliament Hill and much of Wellington Street.

Today’s demonstration has been relatively calm and peaceful.

Organizers say they plan to lead the crowd on a march through Ottawa’s downtown before heading to a rural area outside the city for an “after party.”

When asked whether protesters are expected to return home after the day’s events, Freedom Fighters Canada spokesperson Bethan Nodwell says nothing else is planned except for a church service Sunday morning.

– The Canadian Press


3:00 P.M. ET

Police arrest person who ignored their direction, drove car onto sidewalk

Officers say they have arrested a person who ignored their police direction and drove onto a sidewalk during the ‘Rolling Thunder’ rally.

Police say they intercepted the driver at Elgin and Queen Streets and arrested them for dangerous driving.

The driver was identified “as someone with bail conditions not to enter Ottawa, stemming from the charges received during the February occupation,” police tweeted, making the driver’s the second such arrest of the day.

Emerald Bensadoun, in Montreal.


2:30 P.M. ET

‘Rolling Thunder’ protesters looks to ‘reclaim’ war memorial after ‘Freedom Convoy’

A massive crowd has now assembled on Parliament Hill and is spilling down nearby Wellington Street.

Participants are chanting “Freedom!” as speakers thank supporters of February’s “Freedom Convoy” and call for an end to COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Some onlookers are waving large Canadian flags while others seem to be harkening back to February’s convoy protests by wearing or carrying fuel jerry cans.

Police officers are spread throughout the peaceful crowd.

– The Canadian Press


2:00 P.M. ET

‘Rolling Thunder’ protesters looks to ‘reclaim’ war memorial after ‘Freedom Convoy’

Chris Deering stands at attention at the National War Memorial during a demonstration, part of a convoy-style protest participants are calling "Rolling Thunder," in Ottawa, April 30, 2022.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

Former “Freedom Convoy” protesters vowed to reclaim the National War Memorial with a ceremony at the cenotaph on Saturday, marking the first in a series of rallies expected to clog the national capital throughout the weekend.

Speakers recounted the way police removed protesters from the area after their three-week demonstration on Parliament Hill, as hundreds of supporters gathered around the monument to listen.

As hundreds of demonstrators gathered at the memorial that became a focal point during the early days of the protests that effectively shuttered downtown Ottawa for weeks in February, speakers recounted the way police removed them from the scene at the time.

Supporters watched retired Afghanistan veteran Christopher Deering lay a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in a quasi-remembrance ceremony.

Deering said he was detained by police as part of their effort to remove “Freedom Convoy” protesters from the core in February.

“Afterwards, myself and the other peaceful citizens were thrown out of the city like garbage and told not to return to our nation’s capital,” Deering told the crowd Saturday.

– The Canadian Press


1:00 P.M. ET

Police arrest individual who was charged after attending trucker convoy protest in February

Ottawa police have arrested a person downtown who was charged after attending the trucker convoy protest in February and released with conditions to stay away from the nation’s capital.

Police say the person was arrested for breaching their release conditions, which included “not being in the downtown area of Ottawa.”

Police reminded the public that anyone who attended the Freedom Rally, was charged and given release conditions to stay out of Ottawa will be arrested and charged.

Emerald Bensadoun, in Montreal.


12:30 P.M. ET

Police arrest one on Elgin Street; unclear if related to rally

Rolling Thunder protestors are seen in Ottawa, Ont. on Saturday, April 30, 2022. Spencer Colby/The Globe and MailSpencer Colby/The Globe and Mail

The Ottawa Police Service says one person has been arrested following an incident on Elgin Street.

The force said in a tweet an investigation is ongoing, but revealed no further details about what happened or whether the arrest was connected to the “Rolling Thunder” rally.

Meanwhile, Ottawa mayor Jim Watson says today’s protests seem to be peaceful so far.

Though Watson was interrupted several times by protestors, the mayor told reporters the police presence seems to be enough to keep the rally from escalating to the degree of the “Freedom Convoy” demonstrations in February, which seized the city for weeks.

– The Canadian Press


12:00 P.M. ET

Protesters head to Parliament Hill after gathering on Elgin Street

Motorcycle riders of the Rolling Thunder Convoy parade through downtown Ottawa on April 30, 2022.DAVE CHAN/AFP/Getty Images

Hundreds of protestors are now heading to Parliament Hill after gathering along Elgin Street, by the Lord Elgin Hotel, to cheer on a procession of engine-revving motorcyclists.

Some bikers reached out to high-five members of the waving crowd as they sped by.

Police said in a tweet the motorcycle rally is now over and drivers should expect delays as officers work to reopen streets.

Freedom Fighters Canada, a group behind the rally, says there is a march at Parliament Hill planned for 2 p.m.

– The Canadian Press


11:30 A.M. ET

Protesters wearing ‘protective gear’ on second day of biker rally, police say

Ottawa police are reminding rally participants to remain peaceful after seeing several protesters wearing protective gear.

“We are reminding everyone to remain lawful, respectful and follow police direction,” the force tweeted.

Emerald Bensadoun, in Montreal.


9:04 A.M. ET

Seven people arrested on various charges, say Ottawa police

The “Rolling Thunder” protest in Ottawa clashed with police, leading to several arrests Friday after a small convoy of vehicles attempted to make their way toward Parliament Hill.

The Ottawa Police Service said 24 vehicles had been towed as of Friday night. As of Saturday morning, city officials said, bylaw officers had issued 417 tickets and towed 30 vehicles in connection with the rally.

The protest started relatively calmly on Parliament Hill Friday, but, as night fell a few hours later, a line of big-rigs, campers and other trucks made their way into the core.

Protesters gathered around the trucks, and police in tactical gear formed a line and faced them down.

Police said in a release that seven people were arrested on various charges, including assaulting police. At least one truck had its windows broken.

– The Canadian Press


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