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A large rally against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and restrictions just wrapped up on Parliament Hill on Ottawa, but hundreds of protesters remain.

The crowd spread across Parliament Hill and much of Wellington Street.

Today’s demonstration has been relatively calm and peaceful.

Organizers say they plan to lead the crowd on a march through Ottawa’s downtown before heading to a rural area outside the city for an “after party.”

When asked whether protesters are expected to return home after the day’s events, Freedom Fighters Canada spokesperson Bethan Nodwell says nothing else is planned except for a church service Sunday morning.

4:05 p.m.: Quebec has now recorded 15,000 deaths linked to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

According to data published today on the province’s open data website, 23 additional deaths associated with the virus were reported in the province over the past 24 hours.

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Quebec has recorded more deaths linked to COVID-19 than any other province in Canada.

According to the open data site, 2,252 people were in hospital with COVID-19, a decline of 38 from the day before.

There were 74 people in intensive care, down six from the previous day.

Quebec’s interim public health director said Thursday the province has recorded more pandemic-related deaths than other Canadian jurisdictions because it has counted cases where the primary cause of death was not COVID-19.

Saturday 8 a.m.: The “Rolling Thunder” protest in Ottawa clashed with police leading to several arrests Friday after a small convoy of vehicles attempted to make their way toward Parliament Hill.

Many of the demonstrators were also part of the “Freedom Convoy” demonstration that seized the capital for weeks in February in protest of vaccine mandates, COVID-19 restrictions and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The protest started relatively calmly on Parliament Hill Friday but as night fell a few hours later, a line of big-rigs, campers and other trucks made their way into the core.

Protesters gathered around the trucks, and police in tactical gear formed a line and faced them down.

Police said in a release that seven people were arrested on various charges, including assaulting police, and 24 vehicles were towed. At least one truck also had its windows broken.

The protest is expected to continue Saturday with a convoy of hundreds of motorcycles through downtown, with a stop at the National War Memorial, before moving to Parliament Hill for another rally.

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