Here’s what we know about day 3 of ‘Rolling Thunder Ottawa’

Ottawa’s interim police chief promises officers will continue to be visible throughout the exclusion zone as the ‘Rolling Thunder Ottawa’ biker event enters a third day.

Hundreds of people on motorcycles and on foot have gathered in downtown Ottawa this weekend as part of a series of rallies designed to reclaim the National War Memorial. The event was planned after police fenced off the war memorial during the ‘Freedom Convoy’ event in January and February.

“The bikes are coming and we’re going to take back this monument,” organizer Neal Sheard said Saturday.

The only event on the schedule today is a church service in Vanier, according to the ‘Rolling Thunder Ottawa’ website.

Interim Chief Steve Bell says police continue to gather information and intelligence around the plans for today, and whether the event will continue into the work week.

“What I can tell you is our operation isn’t completed, we will continue to be in and around the area … the remainder of the weekend,” Bell told CTV News Ottawa.

“Like last time, we’re going to say that our operation won’t be done until everyone has left from our area.”

‘Controlled access’ points will remain in place through the downtown core today.

“A major goal of our efforts will be to support and protect the CN Cycle for CHEO,” police said in a statement Saturday evening.

Police added the temporary closures of highway off-ramps on Friday night and Saturday have “been effective in minimizing the impact on our downtown.”

As of Saturday night, Bell said there were no reports of any damage to property or any injuries related to the protest.

On Saturday, hundreds of people gathered at the National War Memorial for a morning service, before more than 400 motorcycles travelled from Ottawa’s east end to the downtown core. There was also an afternoon rally on Parliament Hill, and a march through Centretown.

“From what we’re hearing from our community is they’re happy with our police response,” Bell said.

“They would prefer these don’t happen, but they understand that people will come to our city and they expect their police service to actually manage it, and I believe we’ve done a fairly good job in that over the weekend.”

The exclusion zone remains in effect stretching from Waller Street to Bay Street and Wellington Street to the Queensway. Officers from Ottawa Police, the OPP, RCMP and municipal police forces have been deployed to monitor intersections and stop any vehicles associated with the protest from entering the exclusion zone.

No-stopping and no-parking rules remain in effect in the exclusion zone.

As of Saturday evening, 10 people had been arrested and 33 vehicles towed from the exclusion zone. Ottawa Bylaw officers had issued more than 500 tickets for parking violations.

Ottawa will send the policing bill to the federal government

The policing price tag for the ‘Freedom Convoy’ event in Ottawa in January and February was $36 million.

Mayor Jim Watson says the final bill for this protest won’t be that high, but Ottawa taxpayers still shouldn’t pay it.

“So we’re looking in the millions, not the hundreds of thousands but the millions,” Watson said Saturday evening.

“I spoke with the Public Safety Minister federally just a few days ago to let him know that we would be counting once again on the federal government to provide the funding. It shouldn’t be the Ottawa taxpayers that are funding for this kind of event that is happening in our backyard.

“I keep telling people there are two different Ottawa’s – there’s official Ottawa, Parliament Hill, but there’s the Ottawa that’s made up of communities.”

CN Cycle for CHEO

Organizers say the CN Cycle for CHEO will go ahead today.

“Ottawa Police Service will continue to monitor the situation and work with the CN Cycle for CHEO organizers to ensure that registration for the CN Cycle for CHEO, and the event itself, proceed safely,” said the city of Ottawa in a statement.

The event is being held at the Canadian War Museum, with routes across the cty.

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