U.S. truckers plan pandemic protest, inspired by Canadian counterparts
Taking a cue from demonstrations that paralyzed Canada’s capital city for weeks, U.S. truckers on Wednesday plan to embark on a 2,500-mile (4,000-km) cross-country drive toward Washington D.C. to protest coronavirus restrictions.
Organizers of the “People’s Convoy” say they want to “jumpstart the economy” and reopen the country. Their 11-day trek will approach the Beltway around the U.S. capital on March 5 “but will not be going into D.C. proper,” according to a statement.
The Pentagon said on Tuesday it had approved 400 D.C. National Guard troops to “provide support at designated traffic posts, provide command and control, and cover sustainment requirements” from Feb. 26 through March 7.
About 50 large tactical vehicles were also approved to be placed at traffic posts.
Brian Brase, a truck driver who is one of the organizers, said regardless of where the trucks stop “we’re not going anywhere” until the group’s demands are met. Those demands include an end to COVID-19 vaccine and mask requirements.
Most U.S. states are already easing some restrictions. In California, where the convoy begins, universal mask requirements were lifted last week while masks for vaccinated people are required only in high-risk areas such as public transit, schools and healthcare settings.
Another convoy was expected to leave Scranton, Pennsylvania – President Joe Biden’s hometown – on Wednesday morning and arrive on the 495 Beltway (highway) in Washington sometime during the afternoon.
Organizer Bob Bolus told WJLA news, an ABC affiliate in Washington, that his convoy has no intention to break laws or block traffic, but warned this could happen if their demands regarding pandemic mandates and the cost of fuel are not meant.
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