You’re (Not) Invited: ‘Unwelcoming Party’ Planned in Response to ‘Rolling Thunder’ Rally

“We have to do something to make sure they don’t feel welcome.”

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Still reeling from the weeks of “Freedom Convoy” that brought downtown to a standstill earlier this year, anxious Ottawa residents say they want participants at next weekend’s biker rally to know they are not welcome in the community.

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Community Solidarity Ottawa, a coalition of community organizers, residents and unions, plans to throw an “unwelcoming party” on Friday against those participating in the “Rolling Thunder” motorcycle rally. The idea is to immediately show that Ottawa residents are unhappy with the presence of yet another protest that threatens to disrupt and hamper residents.

The event took place after an OSC The virtual community briefing on Monday to discuss the protest revealed strong concerns from community members, he said. Brian Latour, CSO organizer.

“We have to do something to make sure they don’t feel welcome,” he said.

“We want to show our opposition to the convoy and also … build those connections so that we can build a stronger and more resilient community because I think these people have plans to keep coming back,” he said. The organization has also been working to spread the word about “Rolling Thunder” plans and routes to ensure locals know what’s going on.

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While most details about the OSC event are still in the planning, the “Unwelcoming Party” will likely take the form of a counter-protest aimed at bringing the community together, Latour said.

The event is tentatively planned for Friday at 5 pm in Strathcona Park.

CSO was also going to host a safety culture briefing on Wednesday night via Zoom.

In a statement, CSO stated that their goal with the event is to “greet” “Rolling Thunder” fans and “provide a rallying point for community opposition to Convoy 2.0.”

The “Rolling Thunder” protest is expected to last through the weekend, beginning with a Friday night rally on Parliament Hill.

The motivations behind this protest, scheduled for Sunday, are vague in official materials, with the group’s website calling the event a celebration of freedom. However, organizer Neil Sheard and far-right figure Chris “Sky” Saccocicia have been involved in protests against COVID-19 restrictions.

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The rally has also been marketed as a motorcycle rally in support of veterans, though social media posts from organizers suggest thousands of other vehicles will also take part. Despite Sheard’s promises in Newstalk 580 CFRA The Evan Solomon Show that the event would be peaceful, some residents feel nervous.

A group of Centretown residents visited homes on Wednesday to hand out 600 pairs of earplugs and 200 brochures detailing what to expect this weekend. Although members of the group expressed a wish to remain anonymous for safety reasons, they said their goal was “to help reduce harm, provide resources to the community, and invite their neighbors into a network of fellow residents looking out for each other.” to others”.

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In an email, a volunteer said the group was “trying to support people who may be less engaged with the news or social media, for whatever reason. These people are part of our community, they are often lost in communication strategies and it is important that we support everyone…

“I think what we all learned in February is that we can’t just sit quietly and wait. We need to let them know that they are not welcome here.”


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