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Ottawa trucker protest forces vigil for Quebec City mosque shooting victims to move online

A planned vigil in Ottawa to mark the fifth anniversary of the Quebec City mosque shooting that left six men dead and five others wounded has been moved online due to the large trucker convoy protest on Parliament Hill, organizers say.

The group Canadians United Against Hate had planned to hold an interfaith candlelight vigil at the human rights monument on Elgin Street Saturday evening, but organizers now say they've moved the event online.

"The in-person vigil, organized by Canadians United Against Hate, was cancelled with only 24 hours notice out of concern for the safety of participants and attendees who might face violent demonstrations related to the truckers protest," a media release from the group said. "A virtual event is being organized on very short notice to mark the anniversary, along with the first official National Day of Remembrance for the victims, and the first National Day of Action Against Islamophobia."

The planned vigil in Ottawa will now be hold on Zoom. A link has been shared on the group's Facebook page, organizers said.

On Jan. 29, 2017, a lone gunman shot and killed six worshippers shortly after the end of evening prayers at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre in Ste. Foy, a suburb of the provincial capital. The gunman, Alexandre Bissonnette pleaded guilty in March 2018 to six counts of first-degree murder and six of attempted murder. His murder victims were Mamadou Tanou Barry, 42; Abdelkrim Hassane, 41; Khaled Belkacemi, 60; Aboubaker Thabti, 44; Azzeddine Soufiane, 57; and Ibrahima Barry, 39.

A ceremony will also be held in Quebec City. Quebec Premier Francois Legault and Quebec City Mayor Bruno Marchand are expected to attend.

The trucker protest, known as the "Freedom Convoy" is taking over downtown Ottawa to demonstrate against a number of issues, largely COVID-19 public health mandates. Thousands of participants are expected in the city Saturday, and some have said they plan to remain through the weekend and possibly into next week. Organizers have said they plan to demonstrate peacefully, though Ottawa police say they are prepared for the possibility of violence, should it occur.

Police said on Saturday morning that there were no issues Friday when hundreds of people gathered on Parliament Hill ahead of the main demonstration. Top Stories


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