'Rolling Thunder' convoy on Windsor police radar

·2 min read
A cyclist rides past barricades that have been up about three months on Wellington Street Near Parliament Hill April 27, 2022 in Ottawa. Police will further restrict protester vehicle access to Ottawa’s downtown area this weekend as a motorcycle rally is scheduled. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press - image credit)
A cyclist rides past barricades that have been up about three months on Wellington Street Near Parliament Hill April 27, 2022 in Ottawa. Police will further restrict protester vehicle access to Ottawa’s downtown area this weekend as a motorcycle rally is scheduled. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press - image credit)

Windsor is sending police officers to Ottawa due to an upcoming motorcycle convoy, and officers will also be monitoring for any unlawful protests locally.

Acting Windsor police chief Jason Bellaire said that officers believe a group from Windsor will be joining the Rolling Thunder convoy.

"We're not sure how large the group is, we have no indication they plan to really engage in any activity in Windsor," said acting chief Jason Bellaire.

A Facebook post from an associated group says participants will be leaving from a gas station in Oldcastle at 8 a.m. on Friday.

Given the lengthy blockade at the Ambassador Bridge earlier this year, the police service has a rapid response plan in place should illegal protests arise.

Bellaire noted that stronger provincial legislation is now effect, giving police new powers to deal with those blocking critical infrastructure like border crossings.

LISTEN: Acting Windsor police chief Jason Bellaire joins Windsor Morning

"The Windsor police does respect the right that people do have to demonstrate lawfully," Bellaire said. "We always weigh out our actions against the backdrop of overall human life preservation and community safety, but individuals who are migrating outside lawful activity can expect to be on the receiving end of enforcement at some point during or after the activity."

Rolling Thunder events are planned to run through Sunday in Ottawa. There are different motives for each of the groups officially involved in organizing the event, but organizers were all involved in the Freedom Convoy in some capacity.

The event's website lists three partners: a veteran's group wanting to restore and protect fundamental rights; a group that says it wants the end of all "tyrannical" laws and a pro-convoy video streamer who has frequented the freedom rally circuit.

Ottawa police say vehicles will not be allowed downtown, and organizers and participants will be held accountable for what they do on the ground and online.

Bellaire couldn't say how many Windsor officers will be in Ottawa but indicated they expect to be there for at least four days, depending on what happens.

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens has a warning for those thinking of participating in any protest that interferes with the Ambassador Bridge.

"Police will not sit back," he said. "This will not be a passive response any longer, so I hope that all of the activity is peaceful. I hope that people keep moving, that we don't see a repeat of what we've seen before, but if it does happen police will respond accordingly and use the new legislative tools that they have to move people along."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting