Downtown Ottawa witnessed temporary road closures as protesters and counter-protesters marched through the city center.
Wellington Street remains closed between Bank and Elgin streets, with eastbound closure at Lyon. Metcalfe Street is also closed at Queen.
Around 11 a.m., Elgin Street was closed southbound between Wellington Street and Laurier Avenue. Subsequently, around 11:30 a.m., Elgin Street reopened while Bank Street was closed between Laurier and Wellington as the protests proceeded through downtown.
These demonstrations are part of the nationwide “1 Million March 4 Children” movement, taking place across Canada on Wednesday. The protests revolve around LGBTQ-inclusive education policies, with some parents and socially conservative groups advocating for parental rights in classrooms and extracurricular activities.
Critics and researchers argue that the term “parental rights” does not address the concerns of LGBTQ parents or parents of LGBTQ children.
Police are maintaining a barrier between the two opposing groups of demonstrators using bicycles.
The demonstration in Ottawa comprises over 1,000 participants.
A spokesperson for Education Minister Stephen Lecce reaffirmed the government’s commitment to the well-being of all children in Ontario schools, regardless of faith, heritage, sexual orientation, or skin color. The government aims to prioritize core educational subjects, focusing on literacy and STEM.
Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe criticized the protests, expressing support for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, emphasizing their value and welcome in the city.
Several individuals from the Ottawa school system attended the protests, with varying viewpoints. Hala Daboussi expressed concerns about the curriculum’s sexualization and emphasized the role of parents in educating their children on such matters. In contrast, George Soule advocated for safe spaces in schools to protect trans kids from homophobia, transphobia, and hate.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh acknowledged the importance of parental involvement in children’s education while emphasizing that home may not always be a safe environment for some kids.