Rolling Thunder in Ottawa: Convoy Bikers Leave as Police Investigate ‘Hate-Motivated’ Graffiti at Church

By Limin Zhou
Limin Zhou
Limin Zhou
Limin Zhou is a reporter based in Ottawa.
and Andrew Chen
Andrew Chen
Andrew Chen
Andrew Chen is an Epoch Times reporter based in Toronto.
May 1, 2022 Updated: May 2, 2022

OTTAWA—The majority of participants in the Rolling Thunder motorcycle convoy ended their protest in Ottawa by the afternoon of May 1, while the police continue to investigate an act of vandalism at a church where they attended a Sunday service that morning on the last scheduled day of their demonstration in the nation’s capital.

“Police are investigating an incident of hate-motivated Mischief at a religious institution located in the 100 block of Carillon Street that was reported to us just before 7am this morning,” the Ottawa police said in a Twitter post, referring to the Capital City Bikers Church in Vanier, a neighbourhood a few kilometres east of downtown Ottawa.

The words of “no haven for fascism” were painted on an exterior wall of the church.

Epoch Times Photo
Police is investigating acts of “hate-motivated” graffiti targeting the Capital City Bikers Church in Vanier, a neighbourhood east of downtown Ottawa, where participants of the Rolling Thunder motorcycle convoy are attending a service on the morning of May 1, 2022. (Limin Zhou/The Epoch Times)

The service at Capital City Bikers’ Church began at 10:30 a.m. and ended soon after 12 p.m.

The church was filled to full capacity, according to Live From the Shed, a Twitter account linked to the Rolling Thunder event organizer. A livestream of the pastor’s sermon was provided online.

Mirial Bartley, a Biker Convoy supporter who was at the church service, told The Epoch Times that the vandalism has harmed the community and is counter to what the Rolling Thunder event hopes to bring.

Epoch Times Photo
Participants of the Rolling Thunder motorcycle convoy attend a church service at the Capital City Bikers Church in Vanier, a neighbourhood east of downtown Ottawa, on May 1, 2022. Police is investigating acts of vandalism targeting the church, which was found spray-painted with vulgar graffiti that morning. (Limin Zhou/The Epoch Times)

“Deception that has created confusion, has created hate, has created division—that’s not what this [event] is about. We offer love and hope to everyone. We don’t hate anyone. We’re not fascist. We just want an end to the mandates,” Bartley said.

“I want the government to stop its overreach.”

Stephany Crowley, who comes from a family of veterans, said she joined the event to support the veterans who she believes have not received enough support from the government.

“I just think that whatever you believe, one way or another, everyone, every veteran needs support and deserves support. At the end of the day, they paid with blood, sweat, and tears for the freedoms that we enjoy here in this country,” Crowley said.

“There are people who support the [COVID-19] mandates and there are people who don’t support the mandates. But at the end of the day, these veterans were sent all over the world by our country to fight for rights and freedoms that now many of them can’t believe they have to fight for here at home in their own country.”

Epoch Times Photo
Stephany Crowley, an independent marketer, at the Rolling Thunder Bikers Convoy on May 1, 2022. (Annie Wu/The Epoch Times)

Several thousand participants and supporters of the motorcycle convoy arrived in Ottawa on April 29 as part of a wider movement calling for personal freedoms.

On April 30 just before noon, the convoy, consisting of some 350 motorcycles, drove past the area near the National War Memorial downtown, following a city-designated route, to pay homage to veterans who had sacrificed their lives for the freedom of Canadians.

Epoch Times Photo
Protesters gathered at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on April 30, 2022 (Jonathan Ren/The Epoch Times)

More than 1,000 people were assembled there at the War Memorial for a service that began around 10 a.m., organized by Veterans for Freedom, a group of retired regular force and primary reserve Canadian Armed Forces members.

Another convoy supporter who was at the church, who only wished to be identified as Elizabeth, said she is from Toronto and that she came to Ottawa to honour all of the veterans who fought for Canadians’ freedom and to push back against COVID-19 mandates and restrictions.

“I think it’s a crime to have sent these young men and women to fight for freedom, just to restrict the mobility and movement [today]—not just the 6 million Canadians who still can’t board an airplane or train, but restricting the movements of Canadians through the last two years of lockdown,” she told The Epoch Times.

“If I have to come back here every month, I will have to come back every month until all these mandates are lifted.”

Heavy police presence was seen among the peaceful crowd throughout the three-day rally.

Between 7 a.m. on Friday, April 29, and 8:30 a.m. on May 1, police issued 761 parking tickets related to the protest and 10 tickets for offences such as noise, smoking, and encumbering the highway. Municipal bylaw action taken since Friday morning also include several arrests and 39 vehicles towed.

Epoch Times Photo
Protesters asking for upholding freedom gather by Parliament Hill in Ottawa on April 29, 2022. (Jonathan Ren/The Epoch Times)

Police said in an evening news release on April 30 that one woman was arrested “for assaulting police on Elgin St. midday,” a man was arrested for “breaching conditions” related to the trucker convoy protests earlier in the year, and a male driver was arrested “after rushing an [Ontario Provincial Police] motorcycle at a checkpoint.”

The Rolling Thunder event follows the weeks-long trucker convoy protest in February that called for the removal of COVID-19 mandates and restrictions.

Annie Wu, Isaac Teo, Noé Chartier, and The Canadian Press contributed to this report.

Limin Zhou
Limin Zhou is a reporter based in Ottawa.
Andrew Chen
Andrew Chen is an Epoch Times reporter based in Toronto.