The last thing most Americans want imported from Canada is the noise, chaos, and tension associated with a two-week trucker protest that occurred in Ottawa and on key border crossings.
But that appears to be what’s heading to Washington, D.C.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is said to be “monitoring” reports of a major trucker convoy heading to Washington, D.C., in advance of President Biden’s State of the Union address on March 1.
An organization called KNK Foundation has requested a protest permit from the National Park Service to allow 1,000-to-3,000 people to gather in the nation’s capital “in support of convoys in Canada.” The status of that request is unclear.
So far, law enforcement officials in D.C, Maryland and Virginia have been unable to secure enough tow trucks to clear the anticipated tractor-trailers. So the National Guard has been alerted with the idea to create strategic road blocks throughout D.C.
The plan is to keep truckers away from the heart of D.C. and, specifically, Capitol Hill. The effort could mark the biggest security challenge in Washington since the Trump-inspired riot on Jan. 6, 2021, two weeks prior to Biden’s inauguration.
Protecting Capitol Hill will be costly, but it’s been done before. What’s less clear is the convoy’s impact on always-bad D.C. traffic should the truckers attempt to close or slow down the Capitol Beltway.
Organizers say convoys will remain peaceful despite concerns of road shutdowns.
Nevertheless, D.C. Metropolitan Police say they will soon deploy civil disturbance units in preparation for the possible trucker convoys that could cause gridlocks like the major blockades in Canada.
Bob Bolus, a trucking company owner in Scranton, Pa., is one of the organizers of the protest. He spoke to Washington’s WUSA-9 en route to the Nation’s Capital this week.
Bolus said the plan is to keep the demonstration peaceful. He said he did not know the exact number of truckers heading to Washington. Bolus said just a few trucks slowing down could cause major headaches on the D.C. Beltway, the 66-mile loop around Washington.
“We’re not coming there just to starve them,” Bolus told WUSA-9. “We’re going to choke you like a boa constrictor and you’ll have nothing.”
Bolus ticked off numerous grievances, including vaccine mandates, trucker rights, increased fuel prices and taxes and critical race theory. He did not hide his dislike for the Biden administration.
“We’re leaving lanes open for emergency vehicles, and we’re sending a message to the people in D.C. that you voted for these people,” he said.
Homeland Security officials have not dismissed the possibility of a convoy coming to the District. But plans to interrupt the Super Bowl in Los Angeles two weeks ago failed to materialize.
After the so-called “Freedom Convoy” was broken up by police in Ottawa, Washington is taking steps to prepare for the possibility that thousands of truckers will descend on the U.S. Capitol in the coming days. The U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) is handling the security preparations around Congress.
“We are monitoring the situation closely but deferred to the USCP, which is in charge of security,” Drew Hammill, spokesperson for Pelosi, D-Calif., told Fox News Digital.
The U.S. Capitol Police said last week they were “aware” of a Canada-style trucker protest coming to Washington and are making plans to both “facilitate” First Amendment protest activity while working with law enforcement agencies and the D.C. National Guard to prepare for Biden’s first major address to Congress.
About the Author
John D. Schulz
John D. Schulz has been a transportation journalist for more than 20 years, specializing in the trucking industry. John is on a first-name basis with scores of top-level trucking executives who are able to give shippers their latest insights on the industry on a regular basis.
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