Canadian police face off with protesters opposed to mandates

Police wearing helmets and shields have made several arrests in Canada’s capital after facing off against protesters opposed to COVID-19 mandates

Via AP news wire
Saturday 30 April 2022 03:47

Police wearing helmets and shields made several arrests Friday night in Canada’s capital after facing off against protesters opposed to COVID-19 mandates.

Big-rig trucks attempted to make their way to Parliament Hill as part of the “Rolling Thunder” rally, organized by Freedom Fighters Canada, a group dedicated to speaking out against COVID-19 mandates.

Many of the protesters were also part of the three-week Freedom Convoy demonstration that gridlocked Ottawa’s downtown earlier this year with big rigs, prompting Canada's federal government to invoke the Emergencies Act for the first time. That protest ended after hundreds of police officers moved in to disperse the crowds, making dozens of arrests.

Ottawa police promised earlier Friday that protesters would not be allowed to get a foothold for a prolonged occupation.

More than 800 reinforcements were called in from the RCMP, Ontario Provincial Police and regional police services to guard every major downtown intersection and prevent protesters from bringing vehicles into the core.

Things started calmly, with shouts of “Freedom!” as protesters mingled and danced on Wellington Street, the main drive in front of Parliament Hill. Protesters also marched through the ByWard Market with a police escort.

But early in the evening police warned of a large convoy trying to make its way into the city. Soon, hundreds of protesters were crowded around large trucks and campers just outside the parliamentary precinct.

Protesters yelled “hold the line,” trying to push police officers away from the vehicles. Police attempted to push the crowds away from the trucks and back toward Parliament Hill.

By late Friday afternoon, city bylaw officers said they had issued 185 tickets and towed 20 vehicles related to the rally.

Ottawa city councilor Jeff Leiper reported seeing police smash a truck window to take control of the vehicle. Police were seen making arrests on the street.

On Saturday, the protesters plan to loop around the downtown, with a stop at the War Memorial and march to a rally on Parliament Hill.

Vehicles involved in the rally won’t be allowed into a zone that includes the war monument and Parliament, police say. Nor will they be allowed to stop along the route, but participants can walk through the area.

The “Rolling Thunder” group has not been clear about the cause they’re rallying for, except to say they will be in Ottawa to "peacefully celebrate our freedom."

A statement on the “Rolling Thunder” website attributed to organizer Neil Sheard says the protesters plan to leave on Sunday, and they do not support “blockades, obstruction of police performing their duties, damage to property or hate and vitriol directed to the residents of Ottawa.”

The statement also encourages supporters to follow the laws and says police will be held accountable in court for their actions during the event.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in