Statement on Motorcycle Demonstration

Councillor Rawlson King issued a statement concerning the motorcycle demonstration scheduled for the weekend of April 30.

Concerning this weekend’s motorcycle protest, the Ottawa Police Service must ensure during this demonstration that there is no chaos in the City.  Breach of peace by protestors will not be tolerated and incidents of hate crime must not be tolerated either. 

It is important that the police enforce the law.  While people have a right to peacefully protest, they do not have the right to do so with a vehicle. 

Consequently, I am pleased that a traffic plan has been planned that will include closing some downtown streets, including Parliament Hill and the War Memorial to protest-related vehicles with the creation of an exclusion zone. 
 
The Police Service will also cooperate with the RCMP, as well as other provincial and municipal police forces at the outset to ensure that any breach of peace undertaken by demonstrators will have consequences. 

It should be made clear that there are consequences to criminal action. People engaged in unlawful, disruptive demonstrations will be subject to arrest. It is also important that Police ensure that incidents of hate will not be tolerated. 

I directly relayed my concerns to the Police Chief about the protest at Council concerning its impact on the Overbrook community and the Ward’s residents at large.   

To clarify: the City of Ottawa did not decide the route.  Part of the route will impact the Ward on Coventry Road and the Vanier Parkway on Saturday morning. The route was determined by the rally organizers.  Because of their suggested start location, I asked City staff to secure the Baseball Stadium site, and fencing was erected at that site to enclose parking to ensure that no City property would be used as a mustering/meeting location. 

It is important to note that the City does not have authority to stop protestors from entering the City in their vehicles for this protest as this power can only be enacted with the invocation of the Emergencies Act. 

As a result of the previous unlawful occupation however, the City of Ottawa’s position is that no motor vehicle protests, rallies or events will be allowed in the designated downtown core areas. 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.  There will be a heavy police presence in the downtown core this weekend backed up by barricades, heavy equipment and tows in a downtown exclusion zone.   

At this time, the only exclusions to this area are motor vehicles taking part in a demonstration, event, protest or rally.  Barricades, heavy equipment or police officers and vehicles will be at various access points surrounding an established downtown exclusion zone to filter lawful traffic onto those streets.   

Roads are not closed, and normal traffic circulation is permitted. Motor vehicles not participating in a demonstration, event, protest or rally, and pedestrians and cyclists will be able to enter and exit the zone. 

The Police have indicated all vehicles participating in the protest rally will be fully escorted by the Police Service who will completely control and direct traffic management. The entire route has been designated as a no stopping and no parking area. At this time, Police believe the traffic impacts to Coventry and Vanier Parkway will be 30 minutes maximum during the protest tomorrow morning, based upon 500 motorcycles participating in the protest. 

To reiterate: The Police Service have made it clear that there will be consequences for any criminal action committed during these protests.  People engaged in unlawful, disruptive demonstrations will be subject to arrest. The Police have also indicated that incidents of hate will not be tolerated. 

The City of Ottawa will also be aggressively enforcing all by-laws regarding noise, litter, fireworks, parking and stopping. 

Councillor Fleury and I have convened a stakeholder group of Police and City staff this week and I will continue to liaise with that working group throughout the weekend to monitor Police response to the protest. 

Ticketing and towing 

The City of Ottawa By-law and Regulatory Services (BLRS) will have Officers out on the streets ensuring all parking regulations are observed by residents and visitors. All vehicles found failing to observe the no-stopping zones will be ticketed and towed. 

Ensuring all other by-laws observed 

In addition to parking violations, BLRS Officers will ensure all City of Ottawa by-laws are obeyed by residents and visitors:  

  • No unnecessary motor-vehicle or other noise, including speakers 
  • No public urination and defecation 
  • No open air fires 
  • No littering 
  • No lighting and discharging fireworks 

Tickets will be issued to any individual in violation of any City of Ottawa By-law. It’s important to note that fireworks are only permitted for use two times per year – Canada Day and Victoria Day and the day before and after those days. 

Traffic impacts 

The Ottawa Police Service and the City of Ottawa have created a motor-vehicle exclusion zone in the downtown area. (See map.) No motor vehicles involved in any event (rally, protest, demonstration) are permitted inside this zone. However, the roads are not closed. Residential and business traffic, as well as pedestrians, cyclists and public transit are permitted. The Rolling Thunder event may result in some temporary traffic delays. 

Traffic updates 

Residents can continue to check our online traffic map and the City of Ottawa’s traffic Twitter account for up-to-date information on traffic delays and disruptions due to the demonstrations. 

OC Transpo updates 

There are no changes planned to transit services. Stay up to date on the latest transit information by visiting octranspo.com/alerts, calling 613-560-5000 or following OC Transpo’s Twitter account. 

City Hall 

City Hall and its underground municipal parking facility will be closed to the public from 5 pm on Thursday, April 28 until 7 am on Monday, May 2.   

Ottawa is a safe and inclusive city for everyone 

The City of Ottawa is responsible for ensuring residents feel safe in their community. The City values a diversity of minds, perspectives and lived experiences and denounces any displays of hate and racism. 

Events like this can affect everyone differently. If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, please reach out and speak to someone. For mental health services and supports, please visit  

OttawaPublicHealth.ca/StressfulEvents. 

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