Ottawa Instantly Deploys Riot Police in Response to New Protest

Ottawa Police have blocked access to Parliament Hill and suited up in riot gear just hours into a fresh round of protests in the Canadian Capital. As large numbers of protestors began to arrive in the city, the Ottawa Police Service blocked off dozens of roads and accused the protestors of inciting violence.

The weekend-long event dubbed “Rolling Thunder” has no stated goal beyond “peacefully celebrating freedom.” It was organized by bikers who participated in this winter’s Freedom Convoy protests against vaccine mandates.

Police were already readying a heavy-handed response before the protestors even arrived. Ottawa Police Chief Steve Bell said that an “occupation” would be met with force, adding that any vehicles or mobile homes that attempt to block traffic would be towed.

This winter’s protests featured scores of trucks and mobile homes that camped outside Canadian government buildings for weeks. The Trudeau government subsequently labelled the peaceful protests an “illegal occupation” and declared martial law in order to quell them.

Just hours into the protest, which is supposed to run through Sunday, Ottawa law enforcement accused the crowd of inciting violence and deployed riot police. “Due to an escalation of crowd aggression, officers are deployed in helmets and shields for their protection in order to clear the crowd at Rideau and Sussex,” wrote the Ottawa Police Service in a tweet.

Lincoln Jay of Rebel News is reporting on the ground near police lines where dozens of riot police equipped with shields and helmets can be seen standing around a group of semi-trucks. An officer told Jay that things “got out of hand” but would not elaborate further.

In addition, law enforcement has blocked off multiple blocks in downtown Ottawa. This includes Parliament Hill, where a rally is scheduled for Saturday afternoon. An Ottawa police officer told Jay that she expects the road closures to last until Sunday.

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Cullen McCue