Canadian Anti-Hate Network
A convoy of motorcycles is coming to downtown Ottawa this weekend. While it will not have the same numbers as the convoy, and is not planned to be an occupation, this COVID conspiracy protest has Ottawa residents concerned.
Leaders of “Rolling Thunder” say their motorcycle convoy and rally at the war memorial in downtown Ottawa is not an occupation or a protest. They claim it is an attempt to reconsecrate the war memorial – not because convoy participants urinated on it – but because veterans were among those arrested when the police cracked down and ended the “Freedom Convoy” in February.
Organizers claim to be bringing a thousand motorcycles and thousands of people, though there are no verifiable estimates at this time.
The event is led by Neil Sheard, a 12-year military veteran, who had previously promised in a video to serve “cease and desist orders,” to the Peterborough city council, the mayor, politicians, and a public health official.
“We’re going to be serving Dr. Salvaterra for crimes against humanity,” Sheard said. “The Nuremberg trials 2.0 will be coming for you. And If you are convicted of crimes against humanity, there is only one sentence and that is a death sentence.
“So all these people. Everything that they’re doing is crimes against humanity. Here’s the paperwork. We’re coming for you.”
Sheard declined to comment on this article.
In a previous speech, he also compared the plight of the unvaccinated to that faced by the Jews under Adolf Hitler's National Socialist Workers Party.
"We are no longer the [unvaccinated], we are Jews," he said while holding an upturned Canadian flag. "That is where we are right now, 1933."
In response to news about police plans to close roads around the memorial, Sheard said in a video released Friday, that this event would now be a “free-for-all.”
“You’ve taken that little bit of control, quasi-control, we could have had to guide the motorcycles, but now it’s going to be a free-for-all,” he said, adding later “if you get back to us, we can work on this.”
“It’s going to be a safety issue, Mr. Mayor.”
There did appear to be some progress on this front as Sheard indicated in social media videos and a recent interview with CTV’s Evan Solomon that a new route has been selected. Police confirmed in their own release that they have been in communication with those planning the rallies.
Organized by three groups, Veterans for Freedom, Canadian Freedom Fighters, and a COVID-conspiracy podcast, the definitely-not-a-protest starts on Friday, April 29 with a rally and march on Parliament Hill.
The actual ride takes place on Saturday. While the official schedule notes that the bikers intend to leave town immediately, their website promotes another rally on the hill shortly after featuring Chris “Sky” Saccoccia as a guest speaker.
Sheard has repeatedly claimed that the event is only about veterans, including during his interview with Solomon, but did not offer much explanation when pressed about Saccoccia’s presence, including a listing on the official Rolling Thunder website discussing the events planned for the day.
“Chris Sky isn't participating in our OP DIGNITY event at the War Memorial on Saturday morning. The organizers and speakers are Veterans only,” a representative from Veterans for Freedom told the CAHN, “that being said it is open to the public and we can't stop anyone from attending to show their support for us.”
They added that the event featuring Saccoccia is being put on by a different organization.
“From my understanding, Neil is only responsible for the ‘Rolling Thunder’ portion of the Freedom Weekend schedule.”
Saccoccia is an influencer in the COVID-conspiracy movement, who made his name initially with a series of beach parties in Toronto in defiance of health mandates. Before the pandemic, he was a member of a variety of far-right Facebook groups, and made numerous posts supporting The Great Replacement theory in the now-defunct Yellow Vest Canada page. He also has a long social media history of regurgitating antisemitic conspiracy theories and racism.
Rebel News interviewed Saccoccia and asked him about the Canadian Anti-Hate Network’s reporting, which underlined his historical revisionism of the Holocaust. Saccoccia doubled down on his Holocaust denial and stormed out of the studio.
The Ottawa Police Service received heavy scrutiny from the public during February’s “Freedom Convoy” blockade in Ottawa. So much so that Police Chief Peter Sloly resigned three weeks into the blockade.
This time around the Ottawa Police Service says they intend to close the downtown core of the city to “Rolling Thunder” vehicles. Some areas may be designated “pedestrian-only zones,” according to police.
“As a result of the unlawful protest, the City of Ottawa’s position is that no motor vehicle protests, rallies or events will be allowed in the designated downtown core areas,” the Ottawa Police Service wrote in a statement. They promise an “increased police presence.”
The communities that endured the initial three-week occupation are fed up, and a number of organizations and community groups have come together to mount counter-protests. Their goal is to connect residents with resources for mutual aid and action.
“Rolling Thunder Ottawa has nothing to do with honouring veterans or restoring dignity to the War Memorial,” said Community Solidarity Ottawa organizer Brian Latour in a press release. “They have made it clear by inviting Chris Saccoccia, who wrote that Hitler was ‘100% bang on’ … this is nothing more than a thinly-veiled hate movement with plans to use the War Memorial as a prop for their conspiratorial nonsense, holocaust denialism and far-right politics.”
Community Solidarity Ottawa and others plan to host an “Unwelcoming Party” on Friday, April 29, the first day the bikers are expected to ride into the city. Running from 5 to 7 pm in Ottawa’s Dundonald Park, CSO intends for this to be a “point of convergence for community opposition to Convoy 2.0.”
“We see this as a low-intensity event where we’ll be able to come together as a community, distribute earplugs, make signs, and distribute posters,” they wrote in a press release.
Counter protests continue to organize, and if and when they make any more official announcements, we’ll share them at @antihateca on Twitter.