USA Freedom Convoy Reveals Demands as National Guard Deployed to Capital

Washington is preparing for the arrival of a convoy of truckers protesting COVID restrictions, including one group that is set to drive en masse from California to the nation's capital.

The "People's Convoy," which is calling for the immediate lifting of the national emergency declared in response to the pandemic, is due to depart Wednesday from the Adelanto Stadium in Southern California and embark on a cross-country protest over the next 10 days.

Truckers will drive through states such as Texas, Oklahoma and Maryland before their planned arrival in the D.C. Beltway area on the evening of Saturday, March 5.

It is unclear how many truckers will join up with the convoy, or how much, if any, disruption the protests will cause.

Maureen Steele, an organizer with The People's Convoy, told Fox 5 D.C. that the protesters are not releasing details about their plans in the capital until they are closer to D.C. Steele promised that the convoy will be lawful, and they will be vetting each truck that takes part.

"We have security teams that have been hired. We have bomb-sniffing dogs," Steele said.

Steele said truckers were taking part in the convoy to take back the "freedom" and "liberties" they had been stripped of over the past two years of the pandemic.

"Freedom of choice," Steele added. "All of our Constitution being adhered to, our founding documents no longer being trampled."

Asked by Fox 5 D.C. why they were protesting when a number of COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted across the country, Steel replied: "President Biden just announced that he was going to continue the emergency order. This is no longer an emergency. This is no longer a pandemic. This is endemic."

President Joe Biden announced last week he was extending the COVID national emergency originally declared by former President Donald Trump in March 2020 to allow the distribution of $50 billion in government aid.

One of the truckers taking part in the convoy was asked on Steve Bannon's WarRoom podcast on Tuesday, about plans for D.C. and whether the convoy would enter it or stay on the outskirts.

The man, who was travelling with national organizer Steele, said they planned to "keep a little cards up our sleeves...for security purposes" but did not elaborate.

"We're gonna grow exponentially as we cross this country," he said. "There's a couple options on the table for we're gonna do in D.C., and we'll make those decisions en route."

The Pentagon has approved requests by the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) for the National Guard to assist with traffic control to deal with the trucker demonstrators, who will be arriving in the capital at different times.

The protests are inspired by the recent trucker vaccine mandate demonstrations that caused major disruption on the streets of Canada's capital of Ottawa and saw more than 100 people arrested. Similar protests have taken place in a number of other countries.

The Department of Defense said around 400 National Guard troops will support at designated traffic posts in Washington D.C. and 50 "large tactical vehicles" will also be placed at these spots from February 26 for 24 hours a day. The National Guard will not be armed during the deployment, the DoD said.

The deployment has been approved to last through March 7.

"The people who live, work and visit the District are part of our community, and their safety is our first mission priority" Maj. Gen. Sherrie L. McCandless, D.C. National Guard commanding general, said in a statement. "Our MPD and USCP partners have asked for our help in ensuring people can demonstrate peacefully and safely, and we stand ready to assist."

Bob Bolus, a trucker from Scranton, Pennsylvania, said he plans to arrive in D.C. with a convoy on Wednesday morning with the aim of blocking the highways around the capital.

"Ultimately, it may be the whole Beltway that's blocked down," Bolus told WJLA. "We're making a statement for you people."

After being contacted by law enforcement about his plans, Bolus said he no longer intended to shut down the Beltway, according to Fox 5 D.C.

There are reports that some truckers are arranging a protest to coincide with Biden's first State of the Union address on March 1.

Officials in D.C. are urging residents to contact the police "if they hear or see things that appear out of the ordinary" in order to prevent violence breaking out.

MPD has been contacted for comment.

trucker convoy protest
A trucker sits in his cab as truck drivers and supporters gather one day before a ‘People’s Convoy’ departs for Washington, DC, to protest COVID-19 mandates on February 22, 2022 in Adelanto, California. The protestors are calling for a full re-opening of the country and are scheduled to arrive in Washington, DC, on March 5. Mario Tama/Getty Images