On Wednesday, a group of American truckers began a cross-country drive from California to Washington to protest coronavirus restrictions, following in the footsteps of protests that halted Canada’s capital city, Ottawa, for weeks.
Over two dozen 18-wheeler trucks, as well as approximately 50 pickup trucks and recreational vehicles, departed from Adelanto, California, approximately 80 miles (130 kilometers) northeast of Los Angeles. The self-styled ‘People’s Convoy’ has begun an 11-day journey to the Beltway, a key route that circles the United States capital, in order to demand an end to COVID-19 vaccine and mask regulations.
“This is for the sake of our liberties and human rights. Enough is sufficient “Ron Coleman, 61, a Reno, Nevada, truck driver, stated as he prepared to make the 2,500-mile (4,000-kilometer) trek.
Coleman, a 45-year veteran of the trucking industry, said the group was also campaigning for an end to the emergency powers that have been utilized by US legislators to enforce pandemic-related restrictions.
Washington is preparing for the convoy’s expected arrival and potential such rallies in the coming days. The Pentagon announced that it had authorized 400 National Guard troops from the District of Columbia to assist at traffic checkpoints from Saturday through March 7.
Additionally, around 50 tactical vehicles were allowed for placement at traffic control points. Additionally, if necessary, up to 300 National Guard troops from outside Washington will help at traffic checkpoints.
Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, expressed confidence in the security arrangements in place to defend Washington around the time of President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address next Tuesday.
According to a statement, the People’s Convoy is slated to arrive in the Washington area on March 5, although there are no plans to enter the District of Columbia proper.
Brian Brase, a truck driver and one of the organizers, stated that regardless matter where the trucks halt, “we are not leaving until our demands are honored.”
Brase stated that he anticipates hundreds, if not tens of thousands, of participants. The convoy’s organizers claim it is nonpartisan, headed by truckers, and supported by a diverse spectrum of ethnic minorities and religious faiths.
The truckers are making their requests despite the fact that the majority of states in the United States have already relaxed numerous regulations. California, the state where the convoy begins, dropped universal mask rules last week, requiring vaccinated individuals to wear masks only in high-risk sectors such as public transportation, schools, and healthcare facilities.
CONVOY OF PENNSYLVANIA
Another caravan, consisting of a single 18-wheeler and a handful of pickup trucks and SUVs, departed Scranton, Pennsylvania – Biden’s hometown – on Wednesday morning and was scheduled to arrive at the Beltway in the afternoon.
Organizer Bob Bolus told Washington television station WJLA that his convoy has no intention of breaking any laws or impeding traffic, but warned that this could happen if their concerns over pandemic regulations and the expense of fuel are not taken seriously.
“They are not going to frighten or threaten us. We, not they, wield authority “Bolus, a truck driver and owner of a tow truck firm, stated.
In Canada, protests clogged Ottawa’s streets for more than three weeks and shut down the country’s busiest land border crossing for six days.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau utilized rarely-used emergency powers to put a halt to the demonstrations, and Canadian police restored order in Ottawa over the weekend.
In the United States, new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations due to the coronavirus have decreased significantly from all-time highs reached a month ago, while approximately 2,000 people die from the disease every day and the total number of deaths is approaching 1 million since the pandemic began.