The Rolling Thunder rally is set to wind down today after arriving in Ottawa Friday afternoon, bringing large crowds to a downtown core that’s still tense after the three-week-long occupation in February.
Saturday’s protests remained mostly peaceful, with crowds taking part in a ceremony at the War Memorial in the morning followed by a motorcycle drive-by and an afternoon rally on Parliament Hill.
Ottawa police have called in backup from RCMP, OPP and a number of municipal forces.
Steve Bell, the city’s interim police chief, has warned the protesters they will not be allowed to start a long-term occupation this time. But Centreville Community Association president Mary Huang says the real test will be in seeing whether people actually leave.
Police say that since Friday more than 560 tickets have been issued for a variety of infractions, dozens of vehicles have been towed, and several protesters have been charged with alleged offences that include assaulting police.
A spokeswoman for Freedom Fighters Canada, one of the groups organizing the events, says a church service is all that’s scheduled to take place today.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 1, 2022.