Police arrest several in Canadian capital as biker parade turns rogue

April 29 (Reuters) – (This story from April 29 is re-filed to remove superfluous notes, changes “arrests” to “arrest” in the headline)

Police in the Canadian capital Ottawa arrested several people Friday after a march of hundreds of cyclists, pedestrians and cars waving Canadian flags through downtown Ottawa became disorderly, authorities said.

Friday’s parade was a protest against alleged government overreach and came less than three months after a movement of truckers paralyzed the capital for more than three weeks.

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Ottawa police said in a tweet on Friday that multiple people had been arrested and officers remained at the scene to maintain security.

Organizers of Friday’s convoy, which they call “Rolling Thunder Ottawa,” say they are there in support of “freedom” and military veterans. Local media say several of the participants were in Ottawa during the earlier protest, which was against a vaccination mandate for truck drivers crossing the border.

Several truckers honking and protesters standing on trucks and cars, chanting “freedom” marched through downtown Ottawa as police deployed additional officers to control the situation.

Ottawa police said in a tweet that multiple vehicles tried to occupy a downtown parking lot, though all but one left.

Ottawa police, who have been criticized for their handling of the February protests, had said they would not allow motorized vehicles to stop or park on downtown streets. Additional personnel had been brought in to reinforce municipal authorities ahead of Friday’s march.

In February, Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government invoked rarely used emergency powers to clear Ottawa’s protests, with police arresting dozens of people who blockaded the city center near parliament. Protesters had also blocked key border crossings into the United States. read more

A former member of the Canadian Armed Forces, Neil Sheard, is one of the main organizers of Friday’s march.

In a video posted on YouTube, Sheard said his plan is to lay a wreath at the National War Memorial as a show of respect for veterans. Other groups involved are protesting more generally against the government and government mandates.

Sheard said he supports any group that wants to fight for the freedom of all Canadians because, in his opinion, veterans paid for free speech.

“The rights and freedoms of Canadians are being eroded, and we are going to work to uphold legal civic action to restore those fundamental rights,” Andrew MacGillivray, a member of the group Freedom Fighters Canada who is also involved, told Reuters recently. .

The events that started on Friday will end on Sunday.

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Reporting by Jenna Zucker in Toronto, Additional reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny in Toronto Written by Denny Thomas Edited by Steve Scherer, Matthew Lewis and Gerry Doyle

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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