A 24-year-old man has been charged with assault after a security incident on Monday during the Changing of the Guard parade on Parliament Hill.
Department of National Defence spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier initially said an incident involving “a man with a knife” happened at 10:15 a.m. during the military ceremony that takes place daily on the lawns in front of the Centre Block during the summer. However, the Parliamentary Protective Service (PPS), which is responsible for security in the Parliamentary precinct, later said the man was not carrying a knife.
“Due to the quick reaction of our soldiers, RCMP and Parliamentary Protective Services, the potential threat was identified and neutralised. No one was injured during this incident,” Mr. Le Bouthillier said in an e-mail.
“As the matter is currently under investigation by the Ottawa Police Service, any other comments at this point would be inappropriate.”
Police have charged Jesse Mooney, 24, with assault and breach of probation. Ottawa Police said its investigators confirmed that this was an isolated incident.
In a tweet, the PPS said: “Reports of an individual carrying a knife during the incident are inaccurate. A small pocket knife was discovered in proximity to the subject following the arrest. The Ottawa Police Service is investigating.”
Some officials on Parliament Hill were playing down the incident, saying there was no evidence the man tried to attack anyone, but that he caused a disturbance.
Video obtained by Radio-Canada shows multiple officers holding someone down on the east lawn of Parliament Hill.
Ottawa police Chief Charles Bordeleau told reporters on Monday that an investigation is under way.
"I don’t know if the suspect was armed, but I think those are the details that the investigation will determine exactly what took place,” Mr. Bordeleau told the CBC.
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said in a tweet that he had been briefed on the incident. “Relieved that no one was injured. Thank you to all Canadian Armed Forces, RCMP and Parliamentary Protective Services members for your prompt response,” he wrote.
The Changing of the Guard ceremony is a military tradition in Ottawa and has attracted thousands of tourists to Parliament Hill.
On Oct. 22, 2014, House of Commons protection personnel and RCMP officers shot Michael Zehaf-Bibeau after he killed Corporal Nathan Cirillo at the War Memorial and stormed through Parliament’s Centre Block.