(OTTAWA) Police patrolled the increasingly empty streets of downtown Ottawa as the series of protests planned for Sunday afternoon’s “Rolling Thunder” peacefully came to a close.
Posted at 10:45am
Updated at 6:17 PM
The organizers said they wanted to oppose mandatory vaccination.
The Ottawa Police Department has nevertheless launched an investigation into an act of vandalism that took place at the Capital City Bikers Church, where protesters attended a mass.
The building’s exterior walls were defaced with inscriptions such as “fascism” or “no paradise for fascism” before protesters and parishioners arrived.
Unlike the events of February, when a mob of opponents of public health measures to combat COVID-19 occupied the streets of the country’s capital for several weeks, the participants of the “Rolling Thunder” quickly raised their feet.
Only a dozen participants of the mass subsequently moved to parliament.
A festive mass
Hundreds of people gathered on Sunday to participate in the last activity scheduled for “Rolling Thunder”: a mass. They could see the graffiti that adorned the walls of the church. This, however, did not dampen the enthusiasm of the fairly peaceful crowd, although some were outraged.
“It’s extremely insulting, Kimberly McGrath noted. I don’t care one bit, but a lot of people will find it traumatic and insulting. It reminds us of what we had to go through after being labeled racists, misogynists and opponents of science »
Police have confirmed that their hate crime unit is investigating “an incident of hate-motivated mischief at a religious institution” on Carillon Street, the same street as this church.
Four musicians performed Christian rock tunes as worshipers, some in leather jackets, raised their arms. Families and children, sometimes accompanied by pets, entered the church. At the rear of the building was a small bar stocked with soft drinks, snacks and coffee.
“We start talking about hell and then we’re told we’re religious fanatics,” Pastor Rob McKee preached. We all love the story that God is love. So if I were the enemy, I would try to make these people believe that this is untrue, that this is disinformation. †
The participants gathered in the church parking lot after Mass. Many expressed their intention to leave Ottawa, although some spoke of going to a demonstration in Montreal or returning to Parliament Hill.
Like in February
Participants in the series of protests arrived in the country’s capital on Friday afternoon. Large crowds flocked to the center for a variety of activities, including a ceremony at the war memorial and a rally on Parliament Hill.
The organizers said they wanted to oppose the mandatory vaccination, but just like in February, several protesters had a lot on their mind.
Randy Hill, of Penticton, British Columbia, arrived at mass in a red van decorated with Canadian flags and a “Don’t Believe Afraid” sticker. He said he and his wife Carol-Anne are against mandatory vaccinations and other measures the government plans to take.
“We want God to overthrow this government and replace it with righteous people. People in government are accountable to God,” he said.
The police presence was stronger than usual around Parliament Hill, otherwise it was the usual traffic on a beautiful spring Sunday.
Ottawa police said they arrested three people on Saturday, although the protest remained peaceful. The day before, seven other people had been arrested.
A woman was arrested after assaulting police officers on Elgin Street, where the motorcyclist rally was moving. A man has been arrested for violating the terms of his release following the February events.
Another man will face multiple charges, including dangerous driving, assault with a weapon and violating the terms.
Police are also investigating “an incident of hate-motivated mischief at a religious institution,” which was reported to them shortly before 7 a.m. It is not clear whether this incident is related to the meeting.
In another tweet on Sunday, Ottawa Police also reported 761 parking tickets, 10 county violations and 39 towed vehicles.