7 Arrests Made After First Night of ‘Rolling Thunder’ Motorcycle Convoy in Downtown Ottawa | The Canadian News

Ottawa police made multiple arrests Friday night as the city prepares for Saturday’s “Rolling Thunder” demo.

The arrests took place after a small convoy tried to reach Parliament Hill, police said.

In a press release on Friday night, the Ottawa police confirmed that seven people were arrested during the protests in the city center. Police said “several charges” were filed, including assaulting police.

In total, 24 vehicles were towed in downtown Ottawa on Friday night.

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“No injuries have been reported and the police remain in full control of the city’s streets,” Ottawa police said.

Many of the participants were also part of the “Freedom Convoy” rally that gripped the capital for weeks in February in protest of vaccination mandates, COVID-19 restrictions and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

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The protest began relatively calmly on Parliament Hill on Friday, but as night fell a few hours later, a line of large trucks, caravans and other trucks made their way toward the center.

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

Ottawa police spent much of the week preparing for the arrival of the “Rolling Thunder” protest in the city. The force banned vehicles from the city center and increased the number of officers planning to patrol the streets.

“We are a tired city,” Acting Police Chief Steve Bell said Monday. “We’ve had too much of this type of activity in and around and through our streets, particularly downtown.”

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He said some of those planning to come to Ottawa over the weekend have “identified the need to attend the war memorial and re-consecrate it by laying a wreath and undoing the damage they feel may have been done to it during the convoy. and the elimination of that illegal occupation”.

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He said it had been “extremely challenging” to identify a single reason for the protest.

“As groups have come to our city and other cities, there seems to be no central focus or singular goal for them,” Bell said. “There are a lot of different groups that come and congregate at the same time.”

Ottawa Police also approved appointments for more than 800 Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers to help with law enforcement over the weekend.

In the news release, Ottawa police said “several attempts” were made to occupy areas of Ottawa on Friday night.

“Law enforcement units were deployed to the Rideau/Sussex area on Friday night to disperse an aggressive and combative crowd,” police said.

As of 7 am Saturday, city officials issued 417 tickets and towed 30 vehicles in connection with the demonstration.

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OC Transpo, the city’s public transportation agency, tweeted Saturday that it was increasing its presence on the ground to support customers and “ensure the safety of our frontline staff.” On Friday night, the agency tweeted that the Rideau Center, a three-level shopping mall in the heart of downtown, was closed due to the demonstration.

— With archives from The Canadian Press

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