More than a thousand big-rig trucks, pick-ups, SUVs, passenger cars, and motorcycles circled the 64-mile Capital Beltway on Monday to demonstrate their opposition to vaccine mandates and the government’s pandemic policies.
There were no traffic jams. The convoy was orderly, almost precision-like in its discipline. The protesters gave the right of way to other vehicles using the highway, staying in the right-hand lane for the entire circuit. It was peaceful.
Despite the expectations of the media and many in government that the convoy would become violent, the protesters have, so far, shown no inclination to cause disruptions to Washington traffic or take part in violent demonstrations in the city itself.
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Organizer Brian Brase said that there were some in the convoy who wanted to take the demonstration into the city. But why play into the hands of people itching to show that the protesters are violent, racist, right-wing extremists?
Organizer Brian Brase said that the group, which began its demonstration on Sunday with two loops around the Beltway, has no plans to take the protest beyond the highway but acknowledged that there’s a faction of the convoy that wants to head into the nation’s capital. Authorities said traffic disruptions Monday were minimal and there were no reports of convoy-related incidents during the group’s single loop of the 64-mile Beltway.
“A lot of people want me to say certain things and put this convoy into a certain direction,” Brase said Monday during a meeting with drivers. “I’m not going to listen to all of them. I’m going to listen to the people.”
Judging by the shows of support on the Beltway, the convoy was a success despite the virtual media blackout.
The convoy was made up of about 130 big rigs and more than a thousand other vehicles.
It included a teal bobtail flying American flags pulling a sign that read “Farmers and Truckers for Freedom.” Hundreds of pickup trucks and cars trailed, carrying various flags with slogans including “Don’t Tread On Me.”
The trucks traveled at speeds between 20 and 50 mph, mostly in the right lane as they tried to stay together, while leaving enough space for other traffic to weave between trucks. Construction workers stopped in the median to wave and cheer. On almost every overpass between Hagerstown and the Beltway, people waved flags and signs. Convoy drivers honked in response.
Brase and some of the other drivers will meet with Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Tuesday about the government’s pandemic response. In truth, the two senators aren’t likely to hear anything they haven’t heard before. But the symbolism was significant given that the rest of Congress has been ignoring the protest.
Brase said, “obviously there’s a natural disturbance. We’re hoping one lap by two lanes, so we get back here sooner before rush hour or anything like that.”
Imagine any of the “social justice” protesters being worried about disrupting rush hour.