Thousands of truckers are preparing to converge on Washington, D.C., in the coming days as an American Freedom Convoy plans to shut down the Capital Beltway.
Law enforcement agencies in the D.C. metropolitan area have called in support from the National Guard as they prepare for the American convoy to arrive in late February and stay in the area until late March, Fox News reported.
Participants in the trucker protest requested a permit from the National Park Service to allow 1,000 to 3,000 people to gather in the nation’s capital city. In response, members of the National Guard will be deployed in the area during the month of March.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said that the Department of Defense has received a request for assistance from the U.S. Capitol Police and the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency.
Kirby said, “Those agencies have asked for National Guard personnel to provide support at traffic control points in and around the District to help the USCP and DC government address potential challenges stemming from possible disruptions at key traffic arteries.”
“No decisions have been made yet to approve these requests,” he added.
Bob Bolus, an organizer of the American trucker convoy, said that protesters are interested in shutting down the Capital Beltway as they stand in opposition against a multitude of policies such as vaccine mandates and disregard for immigration law.
Bolus said, “I’ll give you an analogy of that of a giant boa constrictor that basically squeezes you, chokes you, and it swallows you, and that’s what we’re going to do the D.C.”
“We will not compromise anybody’s safety or health, one way or the other,” Bolus added, “As far as if they can’t get to work, geez that’s too bad.”
In recent days, the Canadian government forcibly disbanded the original Freedom Convoy that was gathered in Ottawa after invoking the never-before-used Emergencies Act. Upon the act’s invocation, the Ottawa police began to issue citations to protesters and ordered them to leave.
Protesters who chose to disregard the Canadian government’s crackdown on the Freedom Convoy were summarily arrested.
Despite the Canadian government’s zero-tolerance policy towards the Freedom Convoy protests, it appears that the truckers have inspired a global movement.
Protests inspired by the Freedom Convoy were held in New Zealand, France, and Austria.
Chris Merill, a big-rig owner-operator and co-organizer of the American trucker protest, told the Federalist, “All that’s been shoved in our faces the last two years is fear.”
Noting that he is protesting to secure a better world for his children, the trucker said, “I don’t want them to be growing up in a world like that where they’ve got to be afraid to do anything and to be afraid of other people. Anybody is scared to do anything anymore and I don’t like that, That is not the United States that I was proud of. The United States now, it worries me, it scares me.”