Crowds of people began gathering at the National War Memorial in the nation’s capital on Saturday morning as part of the Rolling Thunder Ottawa weekend rally.
The rally comes after police reported that a crowd gathered on Rideau Street on Friday night turned aggressive.
Officers were deployed with helmets and shields to help control the crowd. Seven people were arrested on various charges, including assaulting police. Some of the arrests were for breach of recognizance, police confirmed Saturday morning.
This weekend’s events are organized by several people who took part in the occupation of the streets of the city for weeks during the self-proclaimed freedom convoy earlier this year.
The schedule published by the organizers includes a stroll through the streets of the city and an afternoon rally on Parliament Hill.
As the police shared expected route of hundreds of bikers will take on their drive through the city center on Saturday, they have also established a vehicle exclusion zone from Thursday evening. Pedestrians, cyclists, public transport and other vehicles can enter the safe zone, but not motorized vehicles involved in the Rolling Thunder event.
Since 7am yesterday, officers have issued 417 tickets and towed 30 vehicles in relation to the special event prohibition zones in place for the motorcycle event this weekend.
Special no-parking zones are also set up in neighboring neighborhoods. A counter-protest also gathered at the National War Memorial.
On Saturday morning, the City of Ottawa’s by-laws department posted on Twitter that it had issued 417 tickets and towed 30 vehicles. Police have also towed three vehicles so far, for a total of 33.
Three tickets were also issued for noise and smoking offences.
Ahead of the weekend, organizers said they would be leaving after a Sunday morning church service in Ottawa’s Vanier neighborhood, police said.