Security forces scramble as man approaches ceremonial guard on Parliament Hill
By The Canadian Press
OTTAWA – A 24-year-old man was taken into custody Monday morning in connection with an incident during the traditional Changing of the Guard ceremony on Parliament Hill.
The Defence Department said the incident took place at 10:15 a.m., around the time when Canadian Armed Forces members perform an almost daily ceremony that has been a colourful summer tradition on the Hill since 1959.
Any threat that may have been posed was halted due to the quick reaction of soldiers, the RCMP and the Parliamentary Protective Service, Defence officials said.
A video posted online showed several Mounties and protective service officers subduing someone on Parliament’s east lawn.
At one point in the video, an officer could be seen pinning the man’s neck to the ground with his arm while another tries to apply handcuffs.
Initial reports indicated that a knife may have been involved, but the Parliamentary Protective Service later clarified that “a small pocket knife was discovered in proximity to the subject following the arrest.”
Ottawa police said they had one man in custody late Monday afternoon, although no charges had been laid at the time and the man’s identity had not been released.
Police Chief Charles Bordeleau said he couldn’t comment on whether a weapon was involved. “I don’t have those details,” Bordeleau told reporters at City Hall when asked about a knife. “I believe all the Ceremonial Guards have weapons like knives. I don’t know if the suspect was armed with anything. “Those are the details that the investigation will determine exactly what took place.”
A source within the Defence Department said there were no reported injuries to military personnel.
In a message posted on Twitter, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan praised those involved in subduing the man and said he was glad no one was hurt.
“Relieved that no one was injured,” he wrote.
The department was treating Monday’s event as an isolated incident, with no reported plans to increase protections for military personnel or cancel Tuesday’s Changing of the Guard ceremony.
Security on Parliament Hill has been bolstered since a man with a gun went on a rampage in the Centre Block almost four years ago.