March 7, 2022
The American answer to Canada’s Freedom Convoy has arrived.
The trucker convoy drove around the Capital Beltway — the metropolitan interstate highway loops surrounding Washington, D.C. — before heading back to Hagerstown, Maryland to regroup and organize, NBC News reported.
Last month, lawmakers in the D.C. metropolitan area requested support from the National Guard as they prepared for thousands of American truckers to descend on the nation’s capital.
Organizers of the American trucker convoy requested a permit from the National Park Service to allow 1,000 to 3,000 people to gather in Washington, D.C., as they protest policy pertaining to domestic energy production, mandatory COVID-19 vaccination, and federal disregard for immigration law.
Bob Bolus, an organizer of the American trucker convoy — known as the “People’s Convoy” — said that protesters are interested in shutting down the Capital Beltway like a “giant boa constrictor that basically squeezes you.”
The People’s Convoy left California in late February, and according to the New York Times, there are at least 1,000 trucks, recreational vehicles, and cars participating in the protest.
One man, who described himself as the lead trucker in the convoy, said he plans to drive his rig into the heart of Washington, D.C.
He said, “D.C., the government, whomever, can claim that they have all this opposition for us waiting in D.C., but the flag on the back of my truck will go down to Constitution Avenue between the White House and the Washington Monument.”
Christopher Rodriguez, the director of the District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, said that if the People’s Convoy enters Washington, there will be authorities waiting for them.
He said, “We’ve been preparing for this for over a month now. In the event we do see impact in the district, those personnel and equipment can help move traffic through with the support of the Metropolitan Police Department.”
The People’s Convoy is one of several protests inspired by the Canadian Freedom Convoy.
People gathered across the world in places like New Zealand, France, Austria, and now the United States to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
Most of these protests, however, occurred in nations that do not have legally guaranteed protections for peaceful assembly and protests and were subsequently squashed.
In Canada, for instance, the police enforced a “zero tolerance” policy for “any activity in the area” where the Freedom Convoy assembled to protest, per NBC News.
In the aftermath of the Canadian government cracking down on the protests, Canadian police vowed to identify anyone involved in the protests and issue them with financial sanctions and criminal charges.