‘People’s Convoy’ Loops Around US Capital in COVID Protest
Trucks and other vehicles traveled across the country to deliver a message on COVID-19.
By: GenZ Staff | March 8, 2022 | 736 Words
Trucks and other vehicles have gathered near Washington, DC, to protest COVID restrictions. Several convoys traveled across the nation, eventually meeting and arriving at the capital. On Sunday, March 6, the procession did two laps around the Capital Beltway, a road that encircles the city. Then they repeated the event on Monday.
The demonstration was inspired by the recent trucker protests in Canada, which opposed new COVID-19 rules.
What is the People’s Convoy?
The demonstration is made up of several groups. One of them is the “People’s Convoy,” which started its 11-day journey on the other side of the country, in California. Another group, the “American Freedom Convoy,” began in the Midwest.
The People’s Convoy urged the US to lift all COVID restrictions. It called on elected officials to “restore accountability and liberty by lifting all mandates and ending the state of emergency — as COVID is well-in-hand now, and Americans need to get back to work in a free and unrestricted manner.”
The People’s Convoy collected donations as it traveled across the country. Supporters reportedly gave nearly $1 million, as well as 30,000 pounds of food and supplies.
“This is probably the best thing to happen in the United States in two years,” said Melissa Ramhoff from Frostburg, Maryland. “We need our freedoms back. We’re done,” she said about the COVID pandemic.
“It’s just been a great atmosphere,” said Ruth Anne Bowles from Blue Knob, Pennsylvania. “It’s been very encouraging to see other people who love our country and want our freedom to remain.”
“I think everybody’s here for different reasons, but it all boils down to the same thing: Freedom and liberty,” said Shane Class, who traveled from Idaho to join the rally. “It’s time for our government to start understanding that people want that freedom in the Constitution back.”
Many of the trucks and cars displayed signs, as well as the US flag and Canadian flag.
The groups were inspired to act by Canada’s recent trucker protest. The Canadian “Freedom Convoy” was a gathering of truckers that joined to protest COVID restrictions imposed in their country. The truckers blockaded the capital city of Ottawa and the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Canada and the US.
After three weeks, Canada’s Freedom Convoy was removed by police. In February, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Canadian parliament agreed to use the Emergencies Act for the first time. This allowed the government more powers to stamp down on protests. According to Ottawa police, 191 people were arrested, and 79 vehicles were towed.
Unlike the Canadian protest, the US organizers said they only planned to drive around the capital city, not enter it or block traffic.
Local Law Enforcement
According to local officials, four convoy groups met up in the Maryland city of Hagerstown. The gathering included around 1,000 vehicles. Sheriff Doug Mullendore commented, “They have been very respectful and have caused no problems here.”
Police said they were keeping an eye on the situation. The District of Columbia Emergency Management Agency warned people that traffic jams and other road disruptions could happen in the area. “We do respect everyone, any American’s right to come to the nation’s capital and exercise their First Amendment rights,” said the agency’s director, Christopher Rodriguez. “But what we won’t tolerate are any individuals who come into the nation’s capital and break our laws.”
Around 700 members of the National Guard were recently called to Washington, DC, to guard President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech. Their stay was extended when news of the convoy was heard.
Support and Opposition
Some members of Congress have agreed to talk with members of the convoy. Republican Senators Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Ted Cruz of Texas say they are planning to meet with the truckers.
However, not everyone supports the convoy. Critics have pointed out that many states are now ending their COVID restrictions, anyway.
Right now, it’s not clear what the truckers’ plans are. Will they stay in the Washington area, or will their demonstration come to an end?