Truckers protesting Covid mandates circle Washington, DC on the ring road.

Video A group of truckers protesting Covid-19 mandates originally planned to enter Washington, but the convoy remained in Mary...


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A group of truckers protesting Covid-19 mandates originally planned to enter Washington, but the convoy remained in Maryland after organizers said they had no plans to travel to the national capital.CreditCredit…Kenny Holston for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — A group of truckers protesting Covid-19 mandates surrounded the nation’s capital on Sunday, aiming to draw the attention of lawmakers by driving at slow speeds to obstruct out-of-town traffic.

The trucking convoy had planned to cordon off Interstate 495, a 64-mile highway known as the Capital Beltway, twice on Sunday before returning to a staging area in Maryland, with plans to potentially speed up the protest in the next days.

While it’s unclear whether the convoy, consisting altogether of hundreds of vehicles, will ultimately enter Washington, D.C., organizers said they have no plans to travel to the capital on Sunday. for fear of “bad actors” turning it into a chaotic event. recalling the January 6 attack on the Capitol. They also wanted to avoid confrontation with the police.

The main trucking caravan, the People’s Convoy, first set out from Adelanto, California more than a week ago with the intention of ending their protest in the Washington area. For the past two days, truckers have gathered at a racetrack near Hagerstown, Maryland, about 70 miles northwest of the capital, converging with other drivers and their supporters.

The People’s Convoy was one of many groups inspired by canadian protests against the pandemic measures that disrupted the capital city of Ottawa for three weeks. American groups said they, too, would travel to Washington to lead a nonpartisan, grassroots protest against the government’s Covid policies, but many appeared to be aligned with far-right organizations and activists.

Their demands have been undermined by the fact that many US states have already begun rolling back restrictions as virus cases and deaths have declined. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines end of February suggesting that the vast majority of Americans could stop wearing masks. Many medical experts say Vaccination mandates are effective in persuading more people to get vaccinated, which they say is key to helping prevent the spread of the virus.

On Sunday, as the convoy headed from Hagerstown Speedway toward the freeway, a winding road of about five miles was lined with people waving flags.

Once on the ring road in the early afternoon, the convoy continued to slow traffic, but the vehicles were so scattered – over five lanes of traffic – that the feeling of a massive presence faded and the congestion took on the feel of a weekday morning commute. .

At one point, just before the vehicles reached I-495, the speed of the cars reached about 70 mph, but then traffic tightened up as the cars pulled into a rolling backup, going from 25 mph at times under 10. Although the overpasses held fewer supporters than earlier in the route, many were still waving flags and holding signs thanking truckers or expressing support for Donald Trump.

Few Maryland State Police vehicles were seen, but as the road passed through Northern Virginia, a heavy police presence was evident.

Ron Dimaline, 67, a pastor and retired coal worker from Pike County, Ky., started getting into his dump truck with the convoy two days ago. On Sunday morning, he said he had become frustrated with rising gas prices and feared the United States was drifting towards communism. But the anti-Covid measures have particularly irritated him.

“Leave people alone. If you want to wear a mask, wear a mask,” he said. “I’ll stay away from you.”

With the violence of January 6, 2021 still fresh in the minds of many, those responsible had tightened security around the Capitol days before President Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday. Another group called Freedom Convoy who left his trip to Washington last week when there were only five trucks left claimed to have a license demonstrate at the Washington Monument on Tuesday afternoon before the president’s speech. City officials said only a few protesters showed up.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Truckers protesting Covid mandates circle Washington, DC on the ring road.
Truckers protesting Covid mandates circle Washington, DC on the ring road.
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