“Law enforcement agencies across the National Capital Region are aware of plans for a series of truck convoys arriving in Washington, DC around the time of the State of the Union,” reads U.S. Capitol Police memo.
After three weeks of demonstrations against sweeping COVID-19 vaccine mandates, authorities are pushing back against a trucker-led movement by towing lorries and arresting some 100 protesters. Meanwhile, American truckers with parallel beliefs reportedly intend to recreate the convoy demonstration with 1,000 trucks in Washington, DC on February 23.
Familiar fencing may once again be erected in Washington, DC, as authorities prep for ‘The People’s Convoy,’ a collection of US-based truckers demanding rollbacks on COVID-19 vaccine mandates and related masking requirements.
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The United States Capitol Police (USCP) acknowledged the planned protest in a Friday statement, noting that the demonstration—slated to begin on February 23—will likely coincide with US President Joe Biden‘s first State of the Union (SOTU) address on March 1.
“Law enforcement agencies across the National Capital Region are aware of plans for a series of truck convoys arriving in Washington, DC around the time of the State of the Union,” read the USCP memo.
The USCP pledged to “facilitate lawful First Amendment activity,” with assistance from local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, including DC’s Metropolitan Police Department, the US Park Police, US Secret Service, the DC National Guard, and additional allied agencies.
Capitol Police and the Secret Service are collaborating to draft a contingency plan and preemptive measures that can be taken to ensure the demonstration does not mirror the situation in Canada.
“The United States Capitol Police and the United States Secret Service have been closely working together to plan for the upcoming State of the Union,” the USCP said in a same-day, follow-up statement. “The temporary inner-perimeter fence is part of those ongoing discussions and remains an option, however at this time no decision has been made.”
While DC is the present venue, some far-right protesters attempted to organize a convoy to descend on Super Bowl LVI in Inglewood, California, but were unable to draw the necessary crowd on short notice.
“The Canadian convoy was pretty organic when it happened,” Maureen Steele, a national organizer of the US-based effort, told Newsweek. “Ours, they had a month’s notice, so our concern is disruptive groups coming in. We’re trying to just prepare for counter-protests and to take safety precautions for that.”
She detailed that the group is expected to include some 1,000 trucks, and will amass more demonstrators as the convoy advances via Interstate 40, from Barstow, California, to DC.
“Safety precautions” are being taken in preparation for expected counter-protesters, Steele said.