Thousands of people wearing red and white and waving Canadian flags packed downtown Ottawamarched through the streets near Parliament Hill to protest COVID-19 vaccines and federal restrictions.

Iran PressAmerica: It's the first in-person Canada Day in Ottawa in three years after COVID-19 restrictions forced the cancellation of events in 2020 and 2021.

"We have missed two years already," said Rebecca Lau while standing in front of Parliament Hill. "We used to come here every year to celebrate for Canada Day, but the last two years because of the pandemic we had to stay home."

The main events included a daytime ceremony and evening show at LeBreton Flats, family activities, and fireworks at 10 p.m. The Canadian Forces Snowbirds were forced to cancel the annual fly-by over Ottawa on Canada Day following a recent technical issue.

Canada Day festivities come months after "Freedom Convoy" demonstrators occupied streets around Parliament Hill, protesting COVID-19 vaccine mandates. 

Hundreds of people gathered on Wellington Street in front of Parliament Hill just after 3 p.m. for the "March to Freedom," an event hosted by Freedom Fights Canada to protest COVID-19 mandates and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government.

"We're going to lawfully assemble, we got this. We're holding the line because they're going to lock us down again," said a speaker as participants chanted "Freedom."

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"No matter who they put in government they will always have to deal with us, we are now the fringe and we are a force to be reckoned with. We are unafraid, you cannot intimidate us and scare us through the media not to show up on our day," said the speaker, referencing the increased security in downtown Ottawa.

The group marched along Wellington Street past Parliament Hill and downtown streets to the National War Memorial, where they sang O Canada. Participants held Canadian flags and signs of "Freedom" while chanting "Freedom," "Liberte," "End all Mandates," and "Canada" and called for Trudeau's resignation

Four people were arrested following an incident at the National War Memorial Thursday, shortly after Canadian Forces veteran James Topp completed his cross-country march to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates.


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