Canada’s public safety minister said Tuesday that the “Rolling Thunder” motorcycle convoy that entered Ottawa on Friday will not be a repeat of the “Freedom Convoy” occupation earlier this year.
“We are not going to have a repeat of January or February,” said Marco Mendicino.
“We are going to provide the necessary tools and resources for law enforcement to enforce the law.”
Ottawa police prepare for new convoy protest, ban vehicles from downtown
Mendicino said Ottawa residents are still reeling from the trucker convoy occupation that led to the closure of the city’s Rideau Mall, trucks honking at all hours and reports of harassment.
“It’s still very fresh in his mind,” Mendicino said. “People’s lives were completely altered. I would say that there is still an exceptional sensitivity.”
Ottawa invoked the Emergencies Law in response to demonstrations across the country that allowed the personal finances of those involved to be frozen. An investigation into the invocation was launched on Monday.
The “Rolling Thunder Ottawa 2022” motorcycle convoy plans to arrive in Ottawa on Friday and hold a rally on Saturday that organizers say will include a procession of motorcycles around the National War Memorial. The monument was a site of controversy during the previous occupation in Ottawa, with allegations that protesters against COVID-19 restrictions had desecrated the monument erected in honor of Canada’s armed forces.
Convoy organizer warns of ‘free for all’ if police ban downtown Ottawa protests
Rolling Thunder organizers say the veterans involved with the Freedom Convoy were tasked with protecting the monument 24 hours a day by law enforcement, but were removed during efforts to end the occupation in downtown Ottawa. , which they say was a “desecration”.
“Rolling Thunder Ottawa will restore the dignity of the War Memorial,” read an official statement on the group’s Facebook page.
However, Ottawa Police said vehicular protests will be banned in designated areas of downtown Ottawa, including near Parliament Hill and the National War Memorial, and there will be increased numbers of officers on patrol over the weekend with the help from RCMP and Ontario Provincial Police.
Rolling Thunder organizer Neil Sheard warned of possible consequences if the planned route is obstructed.
“Thousands of people are pouring into the city. There could be more than a thousand bikes arriving in your city. We had a nailed down route,” Sheard said in a YouTube video posted Sunday.
“Now it’s going to be a confrontation between everyone.”
— with archives from Isaac Callan and The Canadian Press
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