A thinly-veiled attempt at entertainment

ONTARIO ELX DAY (6/2)

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It’s Déjà Vu in Ottawa. Sort Of.

It’s Groundhog Day in Ottawa as “Rolling Thunder” protesters attempt to seize the downtown core in what they’re hoping will be Ottawa Occupation 2: Electric Boogaloo.

Incoherent screams filled the air, along with a strong smell of Pall Mall Smooths and motorcycle exhaust on the first night of the “Rolling Thunder” biker rally. Only two months earlier, the so-called “freedom convoy” occupied Ottawa’s Parliamentary Precinct for three and a half weeks.

By Friday evening, a large crowd of bikers, wannabe bikers, misfits, and weirdos marched from Parliament Hill to Rideau and Sussex, shutting down traffic. Because, of course.

As with all marches, it accomplished nothing. Justin Trudeau has made it very clear that he will end his government’s vaccine mandates when he is ready, and that the schedule won’t be rushed, regardless of how many protesters demonstrate outside Parliament.

The Ottawa Police Department didn’t take chances this time, and from the start, helmets and shields were worn to clear the crowd. By late Friday evening, seven “peaceful protestors” had been arrested for various offences, including assaulting police.

Police roadblocks were deployed around the city similarly to the so-called “freedom convoy” in February, this time on day one instead of day thirty. This ensures only protestors and not their vehicles are allowed into the exclusion zone outside Parliament Hill.

Officials have reminded protestors that while they are entitled to peaceful protest, the right does not and will not extend to their vehicles this time around.

City and police officials insist that businesses and roads in the exclusion zone are open and pedestrians, cyclists, and public transportation are allowed in the area. While there were no forced shut-downs during the “freedom convoy”, many businesses, including the Rideau Centre, had their doors shuttered due to safety concerns.

Mayor Jim Watson, in a bid to keep the peace, urged protestors to respect local residents and encouraged local residents to voice their opinions if they so desired, but asked them to avoid direct confrontations.

Several hundred people attended Community Solidarity Ottawa’s “Unwelcome Party” Friday evening, taking the mayor up on his offer. They wanted to send a message to the Rolling Thunder biker rally that their antics are not welcome in Ottawa.

This rally appeared to be much more peaceful and controlled than the last, with some speakers going the extra mile to say they loved all Canadians regardless of their sexual orientation or colour (even the “pink” and “green” ones).

I couldn’t spot a single Nazi flag this time around!

The ‘peace and love’ vibe contrasted sharply with the anti-vaxxer activist and grifter Chris “Sky” Saccoccia, who spoke to the crowd midday.

Sacoccia was added as an official speaker, despite his reputation as a violent anti-vaxxer, holocaust denier, homophobe, and bigot. Asked by CTV’s Evan Solomon why Saccoccia is a speaker at the rally, an organizer denied he was attending in an official capacity, despite his name appearing on the Rolling Thunder Ottawa website.

As part of his speech, Saccoccia repeated a number of debunked conspiracy theories, expressed concern for the country’s children (not his own as he and his wife are barren), and cited his slogan “united noncompliance” as the reason Canadians have been protesting mandates.

As in the past, Saccoccia is accompanied in Ottawa by his wife and a motley crew of thugs and grifters who help inflate the little guy’s massive ego.

Although Sunday is supposed to be the final day of the Rolling Thunder biker rally, Ottawa residents won’t be able to breathe a sigh of relief until all the leather vests, chaps, and motorcycles have gone back to where they came from.

Caryma Sa’d is on the ground in Ottawa, so make sure you give her a follow for the latest news and images from the rally.

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