Motorcycles thronged the streets of the Canadian capital and a memorial service was held at the National War Memorial on Saturday, as a strong police presence kept its eyes on the “Rolling Thunder” protest.
Many people who participated in this weekend’s event also participated in “Freedom Caravan” that closed downtown Ottawa For weeks in February.
Ottawa police say two people were arrested on Saturday and 33 vehicles have been pulled from the exclusion zone since Friday morning.
Hundreds of protesters gathered at the National War Memorial, which was a focal point during the early days of the February protests.
Supporters watched Christopher Dearing, a retired veteran of Afghanistan, lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at a memorial ceremony.
Other speakers expressed their opposition to vaccine mandates, COVID-19 restrictions, and the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government. Supporters were asked to remove slogans written with insults directed at the Prime Minister regarding the event.
A small group of counter-protesters gathered across the street from the memorial chanting “Go home” at the protesters.
The police formed a line between the two groups to maintain the peace.
At the end of the mass, the crowd marched to greet a convoy of about 150 motorbikes traveling on a road marked by police.
Police stopped the motorbike convoy two blocks from the National War Memorial, and turned the motorcyclists back out of the center on a designated route.
The protest lasted three weeks in February, with large stands and other trucks lining up in front of Parliament Hill and setting up camps that blocked traffic. The federal government invoked the emergency law in an effort to drive them out and dislodge similar protesters who had closed border crossings.
On Friday evening, a convoy of large excavators, campers and other trucks attempted to reach Parliament Hill. Police, wearing helmets and shields, formed a line to push protesters back and drive large vehicles out of an area east of the Parliament District.
The Ottawa Police Service said seven people were arrested on various charges, including assault on police. The windows of at least one truck were also smashed.