Ottawa police to provide an update on preparations for ‘Rolling Thunder Ottawa’ event

Ottawa’s interim police chief will provide an update today on preparations for the “Rolling Thunder Ottawa” event in Ottawa next weekend, as community groups call on the police service to withdraw planning and logistical support from the organizers.

Approximately 500 to 1,000 motorcycles and other vehicles are expected to take part in the “Rolling Thunder Ottawa” event, scheduled to roll into town on Friday. 

The Rolling Thunder Ottawa website says a “rally and march” is scheduled for Parliament Hill at 6 p.m. on Friday.  The event schedule for Saturday includes a Veterans For Freedom service at the National War Memorial, a bike roll to downtown Ottawa and a rally and march on Parliament Hill.

There is no information on the “Rolling Thunder Ottawa” website about the group or the reasons for the event next weekend. The partners for “Rolling Thunder Ottawa” include Veterans for Freedom and Freedom Fighters Canada, which is demanding an end to all government COVID-19 mandates in Canada.

Ottawa police told CTV News Ottawa last Thursday that the service is continuing to prepare for the planned demonstration, and Interim Chief Steve Bell would provide an update on police preparations for the event to the Ottawa Police Services Board meeting on Monday.  The meeting is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.

COMMUNITY GROUPS CONCERNED

Community groups say they oppose the “Rolling Thunder Ottawa” rally set for Ottawa, and are calling on police to stop working with the organizers for the event.

“We’re calling on Ottawa Police to cease providing logistical support to far-right linked ‘Rolling Thunder’ convoy coming to Ottawa next weekend and for Ottawa city council to take leadership and condemn this action,” Horizon Ottawa said on Twitter, launching a petition for community support.

Community Solidarity Ottawa claims that “Rolling Thunder Ottawa” is “not a bike rally in support of veterans.”

“It is a thinly disguised extension of February’s anti-democratic, month-long ‘Freedom Convoy’ occupation of Ottawa,” the group said in a statement this weekend.

“’Rolling Thunder’ is a direct threat to our community, and the far-right politics it brings with it are a broader threat to our safety and democracy.”

The “Rolling Thunder Ottawa” event rolls into town just over two months after the end of the “Freedom Convoy” demonstration that occupied downtown streets for more than three weeks.

Wellington Street remains closed to vehicles between Bank Street and Elgin Street.

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