Ottawa Police Statement on Rolling Thunder

Posted On Monday April 25, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, April 25, 2022 11:15 am 

(Ottawa) - The Ottawa Police Service has developed an enhanced operational approach to manage the Rolling Thunder event scheduled for April 30th along with any impacts from the arrival of participants on April 29th.  

We have heard the concerns of the community. Since February, we have adjusted our overall approach to all demonstrations, protests, events and rallies.  

The right to lawful and peaceful demonstrations will always be protected. 

We will not allow for unsafe or unlawful conditions that could lead to another unlawful protest as seen in February. 

Vehicle exclusion zones: As a result of the unlawful protest, the City of Ottawa’s position is that no motor vehicle protests, rallies or events will be allowed in the designated downtown core areas. The Ottawa Police is supporting and enforcing that decision. This includes areas near Parliament Hill and the National War Memorial and applies to all demonstrations, rallies and events. All motor vehicles will be prohibited from participating in any of these events in these designated areas. 

Increased police presence: We will receive significant, additional resources from multiple partner agencies including the RCMP, OPP and municipal police services. The focus of these resources will be on public safety, maintaining the right to protest and enforcing all applicable laws. 

Organizers: Any organizer of any event will be held accountable for their actions before, during and after events. 

Online comments: We continue to  monitor online and open source commentary related to all events. Threatening or intimidating behaviours will be investigated and subject to charges where warranted. 

Investigations: Investigative teams, including our Hate Crime Unit, are in place focused on gathering evidence and laying charges. We are also in contact with the Crown Attorney. 

Charter of Rights and Freedoms 

As a police service, we will always protect the rights of individuals to lawfully and peacefully protest in line with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Since the removal of the unlawful protest we have worked to ensure more than 100 protests could occur lawfully and peacefully in the core. 

As we do with all events, we have reached out to Rolling Thunder organizers to ensure we understand their plans. We do this for every event from football games to rallies to demonstrations. This is not meant to support any specific cause but to ensure there are clear lines of communications and that public safety issues are addressed. 

The role of police is to remain impartial, promote public safety and enforce relevant legislation. 

We are also reaching out to individuals and groups who plan to express their opposition to this event through protest to understand their plans. As with all events, demonstrations and protests everyone will be treated equitably. 

What residents can expect 

We will continue to communicate through this event to ensure everyone can make informed decisions. 

Residents and businesses should expect traffic delays. Areas may be restricted to pedestrian-only zones in the core to maintain public safety. We are aware of a site in the rural area of Eagleson Rd. where some Rolling Thunder participants are gathering this weekend. This area will see increased police presence and possible traffic delays. 

We are working with our City partners to develop a traffic plan and maps that will manage vehicular traffic and ensure safe movement of pedestrians. There will be allowances made for local traffic. Controlled intersections, road closures, vehicle towing and ticketing will be part of the enforcement strategy to support public safety.  

In line with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, ALL lawful protests, demonstrations and rallies etc. will continue to be allowed in the downtown core in areas such as Parliament Hill and the National War Memorial. Vehicles will be excluded from participating in any of these events. 

Extra police resources from multiple police services have been requested to manage public safety, assist with road closures and enforce all Criminal Code, Bylaws and provincial Highway Traffic Act offences. 

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CONTACT:

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Tel: 613-236-1222, ext. 5366