According to law enforcement, several convoys are forming in different parts of the country and will converge in Washington, D.C., sometime at the end of February or early March. There are reportedly between 1,000 and 3,000 truckers involved as well as the “People’s Convoy” made up of passenger cars.
Joe Biden is set to give the State of the Union address on March 1. Fearing a situation similar to what happened in Ottawa earlier this month, the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department and Capitol Police have requested that national guard troops be deployed to manage traffic in and out of the city.
The troops will be unarmed, and they won’t be taking part in any law enforcement or surveillance activities, says the Pentagon.
Police are still trying to decide whether to surround the Capitol building with a fence as they did in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 riots. That fence remained for nearly seven months — long past the time that any threat was present.
“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 U.S. Capitol Police said in a statement Friday. “The temporary inner-perimeter fence is part of those ongoing discussions and remains an option, however at this time no decision has been made.”
As for the protests themselves, they have several different starting points, and some won’t even be in the capital until several days after Biden’s State of the Union address.
It remains to be seen if any of the U.S. convoys would seek to actively shut down Washington’s streets, the way their Canadian counterparts did in Ottawa. Some convoy organizers have spoken of plans to briefly roll through the city, then focus on shutting down the Beltway, which encircles the capital.
A statement from the People’s Convoy specifically says the trucks “will NOT be going into DC proper.” That convoy is planning to embark Wednesday from southern California and arrive in D.C. around March 5.
The U.S. convoys seek an immediate lifting of what they say are heavy-handed government pandemic restrictions like mask mandates and vaccine requirements. The American Truckers Freedom Fund website says the group is protesting “the unscientific, unconstitutional overreach of the federal government.”
If the truckers were smart, they’d claim that they’re coming to D.C. to fight for racial justice or protest against police brutality. If they did that, Washington would roll out the red carpet for them and ask them how long they were going to stay.
But mention “freedom,” and suddenly you’re a domestic terrorist.