Organizers say Rolling Thunder rally ends on Sunday, police say there is no long-term occupation

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OTTAWA — The “Rolling Thunder” rally is set to wrap up today after arriving in Ottawa on Friday afternoon, drawing large crowds to a downtown area where residents are still tense after a three-week occupation in February.

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A spokeswoman for Freedom Fighters Canada, one of the organizing groups for the weekend protest, said a church service scheduled for 10:30 a.m. is the only event associated with the rally scheduled to take place today. today.

Protest organizers say the rally was organized to oppose COVID-19 vaccination mandates.

The Ottawa Police Service arrested three people on Saturday, though the day’s protests remained mostly peaceful.

Crowds took part in a ceremony at the National War Memorial in the morning, followed by a motorbike ride and demonstration on Parliament Hill in the afternoon.

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The force said a woman was arrested for assaulting police on Elgin Street, where the motorcycle rally took place, and a man was arrested for breaching conditions stemming from the occupation of the ” Freedom Convoy” in February, which gripped the city for about three weeks.

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Another man is facing multiple charges after he allegedly ‘rushed’ an OPP motorcycle, including dangerous driving, assault with a weapon and breach of conditions stemming from the occupation of the ‘Freedom Convoy’ in February, a the Ottawa Police Service said in a statement.

An incident of “motivated mischief at a religious institution” is also being investigated, the force said in a tweet on Sunday morning, although police did not say whether the incident was related to the rally. a weekend.

Ottawa police called in reinforcements from the RCMP, OPP and a number of municipal forces. Since Friday, more than 560 tickets have been issued for various offenses and dozens of vehicles have been towed, police said.

Steve Bell, acting chief of the Ottawa Police Service, warned protesters that they will not be allowed to begin a long-term occupation this time. But some citizens, including Centerville Community Association President Mary Huang, say the real test will be whether people actually leave town on Sunday afternoon.

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