Truckers protesting Covid mandates crowd outside the capital

A group of truckers called the People’s Convoy that left California more than a week ago traveled to the East Coast and were stationed S...

A group of truckers called the People’s Convoy that left California more than a week ago traveled to the East Coast and were stationed Saturday in Hagerstown, Maryland, about 70 miles northwest of the capital, converging with other drivers and their supporters – opening the possibility that the convoy could travel to Washington to stage protests against pandemic restrictions in the coming days.

The convoy’s exact travel plans were unclear. A Facebook post Saturday afternoon noted that a rally would be held Saturday night at Hagerstown Speedway where the trucks were congregating, and several people commented that the group would leave for the Capital Beltway, a highway that circles Washington, on Sunday.

The were reports Saturday of at least a thousand trucks, recreational vehicles and cars gathered at the racetrack. A man who described himself as the group’s lead truck driver told the crowd on Friday night that he would be driving his truck through the heart of the capital.

“DC, the government, whoever it is, can claim that they have all this opposition waiting for us in DC,” the man said, according to Reuters. “But this flag on the back of my truck will come down Constitution Avenue between the White House and the Washington Monument.”

Christopher Rodriguez, director of the District of Columbia’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, said the convoy signaled that it planned to stay out of town. If protesters made it into Washington, authorities would be ready to welcome them, he said.

“We’ve been planning this for over a month now,” Rodriguez said, adding that National Guard members were stationed in the city along with personnel, equipment and heavy vehicles.

“If we see an impact in the district, these personnel and equipment can help get traffic through with the support of the Metropolitan Police Department,” he said.

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 70% of Americans could stop wearing masks.

With the violence of January 6, 2021 still fresh in the minds of many, those responsible had tightened security around the Capitol in the days ahead of President Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, erecting a fence around the Capitol, dispatching National Guard troops and positioning military vehicles and police cruisers at strategic locations in the streets close to the Congress.

Mr. Rodriguez confirmed that the fence around the Capitol has since been taken down by federal authorities.

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.

A National Guard spokesman confirmed this week that approximately 700 National Guardsmen from the District of Columbia, New Jersey, Vermont and West Virginia are in the city and their mission is scheduled to end Monday at midnight.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Truckers protesting Covid mandates crowd outside the capital
Truckers protesting Covid mandates crowd outside the capital
Newsrust - US Top News
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