American truckers launched a cross-country drive from California to Washington on Wednesday to protest coronavirus regulations, taking inspiration from demonstrations that shut down Canada’s capital city, Ottawa, for several weeks last year.
Approximately 80 miles (130 kilometers) northeast of Los Angeles, more than two dozen 18-wheeler trucks, as well as about 50 pickup trucks and camper vehicles, set out from Adelanto, California.
The self-styled ‘People’s Convoy’ is embarking on an 11-day journey to the Beltway, a key thoroughfare that circles the nation’s capital, in order to demand an end to COVID-19 vaccine and mask restrictions for government employees.
“This is for the sake of our liberties and human rights. It’s time to call it quits “Ron Coleman, 61, a truck driver from Reno, Nevada, was preparing to undertake the 2,500-mile (4,000-kilometer) trek when he said this.
Coleman, who has been a truck driver for 45 years, said the group is also advocating for an end to the emergency powers that have been utilized by politicians in the United States to impose pandemic-related regulations.
Plans are being made in Washington for the expected arrival of the convoy and other similar rallies that are likely to take place in the next several days.
The Pentagon announced that it had cleared 400 National Guard members from the District of Columbia, who would not be armed, to assist at traffic checkpoints from Saturday through March 7, according to a press release.
A total of approximately 50 tactical vehicles were also approved for deployment at traffic control points. Further assistance at traffic checkpoints may be provided by up to 300 National Guard personnel from outside of Washington, DC, if necessary.
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.
Although the People’s Convoy is slated to arrive in the Washington area on March 5, it does not intend to travel inside the District of Columbia proper, according to a statement released by the group.
In a statement issued by Brian Brase, a truck driver and one of the organizers, they stated that no matter where the trucks halt, “we’re not going anywhere” until the demands of the group are honored.
Brase predicted that hundreds of thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people, will take part.
The convoy is described as nonpartisan, trucker-led, and supported by a diverse spectrum of ethnic minorities and religious faiths, according to its organizers.
The truckers are making their requests despite the fact that most states in the United States have already relaxed a number of limitations.
In California, where the convoy begins, the state relaxed universal mask regulations last week,
with masks for vaccinated persons only being required in high-risk places such as public transportation, schools, and healthcare facilities remaining in effect.
THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA CONVOY
Earlier on Wednesday morning, a caravan consisting of a single 18-wheeler and a handful of pickup trucks and SUVs left Scranton, Pennsylvania – Biden’s hometown – and was expected to be at the Beltway by the afternoon.
WJLA reported that organizer Bob Bolus stated that his convoy has no intention of breaking any laws or obstructing traffic, but he cautioned that this could occur if their demands on pandemic mandates and the cost of fuel are not met.
“The fact is that they are not going to frighten or threaten us in any way. We are the ones in control, not they “Bolus, a truck driver, and owner of a tow truck firm shared his thoughts.
Protesters clogged Ottawa’s streets for more than three weeks, and the busiest land bridge between Canada and the United States was closed for six days as a result of the demonstrations.
During the weekend, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used seldom-used emergency powers to put an end to the protests, and Canadian police were able to restore a semblance of normalcy to the capital.
COVID-19 instances and hospitalizations in the United States have declined from all-time highs reached just a month ago,
despite the fact that approximately 2,000 people per day are still dying from the disease, bringing the total number of individuals who have died to nearly 1 million since the pandemic began.