Expect traffic delays as March for Life moves through downtown Thursday

Ottawa residents should expect traffic disruptions on Thursday afternoon when the anti-abortion event March for Life moves through the downtown core.

The march is expected to start on Parliament Hill. Protesters will leave the Hill around 1:30 pm and walk through the downtown core before returning to the Hill around 3 pm

In a news release Wednesday, Ottawa police said they expect rolling road closures starting at 1 pm and urged commuters to find alternate routes for their afternoon drives.

Wellington Street from Bank Street to Elgin Street remains closed to vehicles after the weeks-long Freedom Convoy occupation of some downtown streets in late January and February.

People attending the March for Life anti-abortion rally hold signs and placards in front of the steps of Parliament Hill on May 11, 2017. Police are asking residents to plan alternate routes on Thursday afternoon, as delays are expected. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC)

The National March for Life has been held annually in the capital for 25 years, according to the march’s website. It was completely virtual in 2020 and returned in a hybrid form in 2021.

The march is held on the anniversary of the day in 1969 when omnibus Bill C-150 was passed, decriminalizing contraception and allowing abortion in certain circumstances. Its website says it has also protested medical assistance in dying laws since 2016.

In past years the march has drawn crowds of thousands, along with counter-protesters.

This year, Planned Parenthood will set up a table near the statue of Terry Fox across from Parliament Hill to distribute safe sex supplies and information. Staff and volunteers will also hold signs advertising the organization’s services.

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