Increased police presence in downtown Ottawa on ‘Freedom Convoy’ anniversary

There will be an enhanced police presence and parking restrictions in downtown Ottawa today, as police brace for possible protests and rallies to mark the one-year anniversary of the arrival of the ‘Freedom Convoy’ demonstration.

The Parliamentary Protective Service says it expects as many as 500 people to gather on Parliament Hill this weekend, and Somerset Coun. Ariel Troster says demonstrators have a permit for a “dance party” on the hill, but not for any events on Wellington Street or other city property.

A Facebook post invites people to attend the “1-year anniversary trucker arrival celebration” on Parliament Hill at 12 p.m. today and Sunday. A dance party is scheduled for 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. today.

Stand Up Canada said on Facebook, “This is a commemoration of the greatest Canadian freedom movement in our lifetime! This is not a protest … it is a gathering of our freedoms, a tribute to the Freedom Convoy.”

Ottawa police and Bylaw Services have said there will be “increased enforcement” in the downtown core all weekend, and officers will be taking a zero-tolerance approach to parking, noise and fireworks violations.

“Illegal activity or obstructing or impeding the flow of traffic with vehicles on any roadway will not be tolerated and will be met with swift and immediate action,” police said on Twitter.

“During any assemblies, unlawful behaviour will be addressed promptly by Police or By-law to ensure the safety and well-being of the public.”

Chief Eric Stubbs has said police have “resources, logistics, traffic, towing and staffing plans in place to address any type of scenario.”

Bylaw Services will also have additional officers in the core to enforce all parking regulations and to issue tickets to anyone violating other city of Ottawa Bylaws, including:

  • Unnecessary motor-vehicle or other noise, including speakers
  • Construction or installation of structures on City property
  • Public urination and defecation
  • Open air fires
  • Littering
  • Lighting and discharging fireworks

The city says police may temporarily close streets to manage large volumes of traffic if necessary.

“Drivers should anticipate delays in the downtown core,” the city said.

Parking restrictions in the downtown core

The city of Ottawa has implemented special parking restrictions in the area of the Parliamentary Precinct this weekend to prevent cars from stopping and parking.

The Special Event No-Stopping Zone stretches from Wellington Street to Laurier Avenue and Bronson Avenue to Elgin Street.

Bylaw Services says enforcement will continue all weekend, and vehicles will be ticketed and towed for violating the No-Stopping Zone.

Restricted access to Parliament Hill

Access to Parliament Hill is being restricted all weekend in preparation for any protests or rallies to mark the anniversary of the ‘Freedom Convoy’, and tours of the House of Commons and the Senate are cancelled all weekend.

The PPS says public access to Parliament Hill will be restricted to the Queen’s Gates and Metcalfe Gate, while the Bank Gate, O’Connor Gate, Elgin Gate, and Canal Gate will not be accessible to the public.

“All public tours are cancelled,” the PPS said, referencing all tours of the House of Commons and the Senate are cancelled for Saturday and Sunday.

On Jan. 28, 2022, thousands of vehicles and people rolled into downtown Ottawa as part of the protest against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other public health measures. The protest occupied several streets in the Parliamentary Precinct for more than three weeks, and forced the closure of several businesses, including the Rideau Centre.  The Liberal government invoked the Emergencies Act to end the protest.

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