Motorcycles thundered through the streets of the Canadian capital and a memorial service was held at the national war memorial on Saturday, while a strong police presence watched the ‘Rolling Thunder’ protest.
Many of the people involved in this weekend’s event also took part in the “Freedom Convoy” that closed downtown Ottawa for weeks in February.
Ottawa police say two people were arrested on Saturday and 33 vehicles have been towed out of 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 protests in February.
Supporters watched as retired Afghan veteran Christopher Deering laid a wreath on the grave of the Unknown Soldier during a quasi-commemoration ceremony.
Other speakers expressed opposition to vaccine mandates, COVID-19 restrictions and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government. Supporters were asked to remove expletive slogans aimed at the prime minister before the event.
A small group of counter-protesters gathered across the street from the monument and shouted “go home” to the protesters.
Police formed a line between the two groups to keep the peace.
At the end of the service, the crowd marched to greet a convoy of about 150 motorcycles traveling on a route set by police.
Police stopped the motorcycle convoy two blocks from the National War Memorial and allowed the motorcyclists to travel back from the core on a designated route.
The February protest lasted three weeks, as large platforms and other trucks closed in on Parliament Hill and set up camps blocking traffic. The federal government invoked the Emergency Act in an effort to evict them and similar protesters blocking border crossings.
On Friday night, a convoy of big-rigs, RVs and other trucks attempted to reach Parliament Hill. Police, wearing helmets and shields, lined up to push protesters back and clear the large vehicles from an area just east of the parliamentary district.
Seven people were arrested on various charges, including assaulting police, Ottawa police said. The windows of at least one truck were also broken.