Officials in Washington, D.C., have called in the National Guard to help handle the influx of truckers expected to descend on the city this week. Police put out an alert Wednesday about the multiple convoys that plan to protest several issues at the capital.
“Mayor [Muriel] Bowser is being briefed by public safety officials as we continue to monitor the situation closely, and our agencies remain in regular contact with their local, regional, and federal partners,” the alert said, according to the New York Post.
“Layered mitigation measures are being put in place, including some that will be visible to the public and others that are not,” the alert states. “We appreciate the approval of our DC National Guard traffic support request as we pull together the resources to support our public safety personnel.”
There are multiple convoys of truckers, including The Peoples Convoy and American Truckers. Each group has its own agenda and goals, which makes policing harder. Some are protesting vaccines, others want the government to do more to lower gas prices. Regardless of their ideology, each group is taking inspiration from the Freedom Convoy in Canada.
The Freedom Convoy blockaded much of that country’s capital for three weeks to protest the country’s vaccine mandate. Police arrested nearly 200 people and towed away scores of trucks to end that protest earlier this week. At least one group headed to Washington, D.C., say they plan to use similar tactics.
Bob Bolus said one convoy wants to block the Beltway and other major roads in Washington. He said hundreds of truckers say they will take part.
“I’ll give you an analogy of that of a giant boa constrictor,” Bolus told Fox News. “That basically squeezes you, chokes you, and it swallows you. And that’s what we’re going to do D.C.”
Freedom Convoy Members Talk Police Crackdowns
Several members of the Freedom Convoy said Ottawa cops were violent in breaking up protests and barricades around the city last week. Police set up no-go zones and arrested anyone there without permission. This led to several clashes between demonstrators and officers.
“A cop from in front put his hand out and was pushing me, like choking me, pushing me back,” a student protester named Emily told Fox News. [One tried] to pull me by my hair through to arrest me behind the line.”
Most protestors refused to give their last name to reporters for fear of government reprisals. Members of the Freedom Convoy said they were peaceful and the violence was unwarranted.
“On our side, it’s just a bunch of love,” Jessica said. “On the alternate side of things, it’s not so pretty. They won’t really look at you. They won’t speak to you. It is very robotic and inhuman.”
Though, police officers tell a different story. They said some protestors attacked them and their horses, and they had to defend themselves.
“We told you to leave. We gave you time to leave. (And) We were slow and methodical, yet you were assaultive and aggressive with officers and the horses,” The Ottawa Police Department tweeted. “Based on your behavior, we are responding by including helmets and batons for our safety.”