“So let’s get this straight, okay? Our event is about the memorial, it’s about the veterans, it’s about the bikes.”
The key organizer of this weekend’s “Rolling Thunder” events in Ottawa is distancing himself from a rally on Parliament Hill with notorious anti-mask activist and conspiracy theorist Chris Sky.
Sky, also known as Chris Saccoccia, has appeared at rallies across Canada protesting COVID-19 public health measures. He has been arrested multiple times, including on charges of making death threats and assaulting a police officer with a car after a man allegedly threatened to shoot Doug Ford and other prime ministers.
“Rolling Thunder” organizer Neil Sheard said in a video posted Wednesday that he had nothing to do with the rally with “special guest” Sky, which is listed on the “Rolling Thunder” website as a scheduled event. for Saturday afternoon on Parliament Hill.
Sheard came up with the idea for “Rolling Thunder” and identified himself as the leader.
In the video, he said he only participated in the veterans’ events over the weekend, including a motorcycle ride and a ceremony Saturday at the National War Memorial.
The rally with Sky is sponsored by Freedom Fighters Canada, Sheard said. That’s the group that Sheard says is helping to organize “Rolling Thunder.”
“(Sky’s speech) is not affiliated with ‘Rolling Thunder’ like our ‘Rolling Thunder’ event,” Sheard said in the video. “So let’s clear this up, okay? Our event is about the memorial, it’s about the veterans, it’s about the bikes.”
Sheard also said that he believes in free speech. Veterans “put their lives on the line” for free speech, he said.
Heaven has been identified by the Canadian Anti-Hate Network for making statements reflecting anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial, and racist and homophobic views.
“Rolling Thunder” is playing out in a similar way to the “Freedom Convoy” trucker protests that occupied downtown Ottawa for three weeks in January and February. Multiple groups and individuals are involved, espousing various ideas.
The motorcyclists had planned to ride past the National War Memorial as part of the ceremony there, but that doesn’t appear to be happening.
Ottawa police and the city have announced that vehicles will not be allowed downtown near the monument and Parliament Hill.
It is unclear which route the motorcyclists will take.
Acting Ottawa Police Chief Steve Bell said Wednesday that he was trying to find the safest and least intrusive way to move bicyclists around the city. “A disorganized and messy group of motorcyclists in different groups wandering around the city would be more troublesome and challenging for us,” he told the city council.
“Rolling Thunder” has not received anything in writing from the Ottawa Police Service about the route, according to a video posted Tuesday by Live from the Shed, which is a co-sponsor and promoter of the events.
That likely won’t be resolved until Saturday morning, a man identified as Dave in the video said.
“Realistically no one will probably know until Saturday when it will actually happen, when the bikes arrive. Will the police let them through? Or will they (the police) try to incite violence? I don’t know, but the only thing I can do is encourage all of you who are going to go in peace, to go in love, wave your flags…”.
READ MORE COVERAGE PREVIEW OF THE ‘ROLLING THUNDER’ MOTORCYCLE CONVOY: