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Some Freedom Movement Protesters Were Arrested By Ottawa Police At A Canada Day Event

One officer was reportedly choked during a confrontation.

Ottawa Police Service badge. Right: National War Memorial.

Ottawa Police Service badge. Right: National War Memorial.

Contributing Writer

At least six arrests have been made in Ottawa leading up to the capital's Canada Day events, and one officer was reportedly choked during a gathering on Thursday evening.

According to a tweet from the Ottawa Police Service, four people were arrested near the National War Memorial at around 7:30 p.m. on June 30.

The arrests were reportedly made during a gathering for James Topp, a Canadian Armed Forces member who says he is in the process of being released for not disclosing his COVID-19 vaccination status.

Topp has been vocal in his opposition to vaccine mandates for federal government employees. He arrived in Ottawa on Thursday after embarking on the 4,000-kilometre walk from Vancouver in February, after he was charged with "conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline for comments made while wearing his uniform," according to Global News.

At around 7:19 p.m., Ottawa police tweeted that they were "dealing with a situation" around Wellington and Elgin streets. About nine minutes after the first tweet, police said that the situation was resolved.

Initially, the police service said that three people were arrested, but shortly after, they shared that a total of four people were arrested at the memorial site.

"We are reviewing video and investigating the incident at the National War Memorial this evening," reads an OPS tweet from later in the evening. "The initial investigation finds that an interaction with officers became confrontational and 1 officer was choked. Other officers immediately responded, 4 people were arrested."

In video footage shared on social media, a ruckus appears to break out and police can be seen interacting with someone at the National War Memorial. A person in an orange safety vest rushes a group of officers as several more people join in. The scuffle breaks up and groups of several officers can be seen tackling people to the ground.

Additional arrests leading up to Canada Day

At least two other arrests have been made since Wednesday, according to tweets from police. One person was arrested at Highway 417 and Anderson Road in connection with breaching their bail conditions, which police say include not entering Ottawa. A vehicle was also towed.

Tow trucks used by Ottawa police could be seen lined on downtown streets this week. The service said in a tweet that it was "deploying [its] assets throughout the core and monitoring for convoys."

In another incident on Wednesday night, a man who police said was "causing a disturbance on Parliament Hill" and wanted on outstanding warrants in Toronto was arrested. The police service said he was "being returned to Toronto to appear in court."

"Police will not tolerate unlawful or aggressive behaviour, and we have strategies to deal with individuals or groups who violate the law," OPS warned in another tweet.

It's one of Ottawa's busiest Canada Days when it comes to laying down the law. As of Wednesday morning, Ottawa By-law had already issued 275 parking tickets and towed 72 vehicles in the vehicle control zone put in place for this weekend's events. The City of Ottawa has also recently increased many fines for violating city rules, such as shouting and idling, to $1,000.

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