Hundreds of unarmed National Guard troops will be sent to Washington in advance of the arrival of trucker convoys protesting epidemic restrictions.
A request from the District of Columbia administration and the US Capitol police was authorized by Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin. The roughly 700 troops will be stationed around Washington’s different roadways.
The trucker convoys in the United States are attempting to duplicate previous trucker demonstrations in Canada, which paralyzed the nation’s capital, Ottawa.
From Saturday through March 7, the National Guard will “provide support at designated traffic posts, provide command and control, and cover sustainment requirements” according to a statement.
Separate truck convoys have been planned through internet forums with names like the People’s Convoy and the American Truckers Freedom Fund, all with distinct beginning sites, departure dates, and itineraries, modelled after previous trucker demonstrations in Canada. Some will arrive in time for President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech on March 1, while others may arrive later.
According to the statement, 50 “large tactical vehicles” would be stationed at traffic lights 24 hours a day. The troops will not be carrying guns or participating in law enforcement activities.
Several trucking convoys were expected to descend on Washington around the time of President Biden’s State of the Union speech on March 1, according to the US Capitol Police.
Bob Bolus, one of the protest organizers, informed a local Fox News affiliate that his organization planned to shut down the Beltway, a roadway that circles Washington.
“I’ll use the example of a huge boa constrictor to illustrate my point. That squeezes, chokes, and consumes you, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do, DC “he stated
The convoys are in response to Canadian truckers’ demonstrations that shut down a bridge between Windsor, Ontario, and Michigan, the busiest border crossing between the two countries.
They also converged on Ottawa, clogging roadways with hundreds of trucks.
The protests began with a truck convoy traveling to Ottawa to fight a vaccination mandate for truckers crossing the US-Canada border, but quickly expanded to include broader opposition to pandemic restrictions and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s administration.
In response, Canada used an emergency statute for the first time, detaining convoy leaders and freezing truckers’ bank accounts.