Canada Day protests: Man arrested on Parliament Hill, Poilievre briefly joins Topp march; officials start to drag

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As the capital gears up for the first in-person Canada Day celebrations since 2019, the “freedom movement” protesters are planning a series of events starting Thursday.

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Acting Ottawa Police Chief Steve Bell says several hundred thousand people are expected to celebrate in the downtown area on Friday, while the groups are planning events for Thursday and Friday.

City police have enlisted RCMP’s help as the city maintains a “vehicle no-go zone” around Parliament Hill and Mayor Jim Watson has urged people to head downtown to celebrate Canada Day and not be intimidated or harassed by those who try the feast.

On Thursday, James Topp, a Canadian soldier charged in February for speaking out against COVID-19 vaccine requirements while wearing his uniform, is expected to arrive in Ottawa during the final leg of his cross-country hike to protest the COVID-19 pandemic. 19 vaccine mandates and other pandemic public health measures. The organizers of his march said he would leave Bells Corners at 10am and arrive at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at 6pm

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Meanwhile, a group calling itself the Veterans’ Accountability Commission is planning a counter-protest in Elgin Street at 3 p.m. Thursday “to re-address the deplorable use of our nation’s Cenotaph as a place of political protest and as a tool of far-right propaganda. ”

The latest developments Thursday

1 o’clock in the afternoon: Ottawa Police have arrested a second person for violating their bail conditions to not enter Ottawa.

The person’s car was also seized.

The arrest followed what police described as an “operation” near Highway 417 and Anderson Road on the east side.
Further details are not immediately available.

Afternoon: Conservative leadership hopeful and Carleton MP Pierre Poilievre joined the James Topp march as it left Bells Corners en route to the war memorial.

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“I support everyone who believes in freedom of choice,” Poilievre told Topp in a short interview.

Poilievre left the march about half an hour later at the corner of Clyde and Merivale.

Poilievre is known for his opposition to illegal blockades and “unlawful” behavior by participants in the Freedom Convoy. Nevertheless, he is a staunch supporter of the group’s core goal of reversing federal COVID mandates through protest. “I am proud of the truckers and stand behind them,” Poilievre told Postmedia in February, when the Ottawa blockades were still in place.

10 hours The city of Gatineau has announced a number of street closures that will go into effect in the downtown area on Canada Day.

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9 o’clock — The City of Ottawa City Council said officers have issued 154 parking tickets and towed 44 vehicles located in the vehicle control zone for Canada Day events and demonstrations since the zone was established at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

07:30 — Community Solidarity Ottawa said the Ottawans are “bringing back another weekend of so-called ‘freedom’ protests.” The coalition of residents, community groups and unions will continue to “monitor and document” the unfolding situation.

“This so-called ‘freedom movement’ is nothing but a web of far-right hatred,” Solidarity spokesman Brian Latour said in a statement noting that 20 MPs met with Topp and organizers of Veterans for Freedom last week.

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“The fact that they continue to protest vaccine mandates and public health restrictions that have since been lifted exposes them to what we knew they were from the start: a movement of little more than far-right cultural grievances and runaway conspiracy theories.”

6.30 am in the morning – Ottawa police say officers have arrested a man who caused unrest on Parliament Hill Wednesday night. The man, who was also wanted in Toronto over outstanding arrest warrants, was brought back there for trial. Police also warned on Wednesday that anyone with conditions to stay out of Ottawa would be arrested and charged if they violate them.

Police reiterated their warning that illegal behavior and vehicle-based demonstrations will not be tolerated.

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