Canada Day enforcement in Ottawa sees 284 parking tickets issued as protesters return
79 vehicles towed inside downtown auto exclusion zone around Parliament Hill
Canada Day enforcement efforts in Ottawa have included bylaw officers handing out 284 parking tickets since 8 a.m. ET Thursday in the downtown area as well as the towing of 79 vehicles, as anti-mandate protesters returned to the capital with few issues Friday.
In a tweet, bylaw officials said the towing occurred inside the downtown vehicle exclusion zone.
We're certainly better prepared and more police officers from different jurisdictions are coming to help this weekend.- Jim Watson, Ottawa mayor
The zone is similar to what was set up in late April for the Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally, and covers much of the downtown area. Within it, no street parking is permitted and no protest vehicles are allowed in until at least 6 a.m. on Monday.
The zone expanded west on Albert Street to Bayview station and east into the ByWard Market for Canada Day.
On Thursday evening, four people were arrested near the National War Memorial.
Enforcement action since 8 AM June 29 in regard to Canada Day events and demonstrations in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/OttCity?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#OttCity</a>:<br><br>▶️284 parking tickets<br><br>▶️79 vehicles towed<br><br>▶️3 tickets for encumbering highway <br><br>▶️ 2 tickets for unlicensed mobile refreshment vehicles <br>(1/2) <a href="https://t.co/fV96pxvGFy">pic.twitter.com/fV96pxvGFy</a>—@OttawaBylaw
The Ottawa Police Service said it's investigating the incident, including reviewing video.
Its initial investigations found an interaction with an officer became confrontational and an officer was choked, the service tweeted. Police haven't clarified if the incident involved one or two officers.
Despite the arrests, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said enforcement efforts seem to be "working relatively well," especially compared to the weeks-long occupation earlier this year of downtown streets.
"I think we're certainly better prepared and more police officers from different jurisdictions are coming to help this weekend," Watson said at a Canada Day event Friday morning.
"It's always a big day in Ottawa if Canada Day is celebrated. We wanted to make sure that people come here and they have an enjoyable, safe, fun experience."
'Minimal' police activity, says mayor
Later in the day, Watson said police told him there has been "minimal activity" requiring officers' involvement.
Organizers were scheduled to hold a "freedom music concert" featuring entertainers who became popular during the Freedom Convoy for performing on a stage that was set up in front of Parliament Hill on Wellington Street.
Protesters had also been planning to march Friday to Parliament Hill and hold a dance party.
As was the case during the Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally in April, many of the Canada Day events are being co-ordinated by Veterans 4 Freedom (V4F), a group formed by central figures involved in the Freedom Convoy's weeks-long winter protests.
Organizers had also planned an "old-fashioned family picnic" in Strathcona Park on Friday morning, but the event was cancelled.
With files from Radio-Canada and CBC's Olivia Stefanovich