Rolling Thunder Ottawa: Biker event set to roll in Friday

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Ottawa Police Department promises a large police presence will be deployed when the Rolling Thunder biker rally rolls into the capital today.

The Rolling Thunder Ottawa website doesn’t provide many details about this weekend’s rally, but events are planned for today, Saturday and Sunday at the National War Memorial, on Parliament Hill and at a church in Vanier.

The first event of the weekend is a Freedom Fighters Canada rally and march up Parliament Hill at 6pm.

As the bikers and supporters arrive in Ottawa for the event, there is now a restricted area for motor vehicles in downtown and ByWard Market areas.

“No motor vehicles involved in events are allowed in this zone,” police said. “However, the roads are not closed. Residential and business traffic as well as pedestrians, cyclists and public transport are allowed.”

Interim chief Steve Bell told reporters Thursday that vehicles and physical barriers will be put up in some places in the exclusion zone.

“City barricades, heavy equipment or police officers and police vehicles will be at various patrolled entry points around the vehicle exclusion zone to filter lawful traffic on and in and around these streets,” Bell said.

“This weekend, residents will see a large and sustained police and law enforcement presence, including bylaw and parking enforcement.”

Officers from the Ottawa Police Department, Ontario Provincial Police, RCMP and City Police Forces are deployed to the downtown-wide protest.

There will be no on-street parking or stopping within the restricted zone, which includes Waller Street, Wellington/Rideau Street, Bay Street and Laurier Avenue.

Parking within the zone is possible in parking lots and garages. On-street parking will be allowed at ByWard Market this weekend.

Mayor Jim Watson says the city is ready for the event.

“I’m a lot more confident in preparing for this particular convoy, which is made up of about 500 motorcyclists,” Watson told CTV’s Power Play. “We have restricted zones where these people can’t ride their bikes through residential neighborhoods, and we also have a larger police presence.”


‘UNWELCOME PARTY’

Two kilometers from the National War Memorial and Parliament Hill, Community Solidarity Ottawa is hosting an “Unwelcome Party” tonight.

“We cannot accept that unchallenged,” said organizer Brian Latour.

CSO says they wanted to do something to send a message to biker rally Rolling Thunder that they are not welcome in Ottawa. The event also aims to demonstrate publicly how much the convoys have disrupted Centretown residents.

The Unwelcome Party begins at 5 p.m. at Strathcona Park in Sandy Hill.


NO HOLD ZONES

The Ottawa ordinance states that enforcement for vehicles violating the no-stopping special-event zones in the exclusion zone will begin at 7 a.m.

The no stopping and no parking zones are Waller Street, Wellington/Rideau Street, Bay Street and Laurier Avenue.


OTTAWA CITY HALL

Ottawa City Hall and underground parking garage are now closed over the weekend.

According to the city, the town hall and the parking lot will be closed to the public until Monday.

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