D.C. officials said Friday they expect convoys of truckers protesting COVID mandates to reach the District around President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address to Congress on March 1.
After noting that an anticipated convoy from Scranton, Pennsylvania, “fizzled out,” D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency Director Chris Rodriguez said they’re now looking at several other groups.
The first is a group that left Barstow, California, earlier this week, according to Rodriguez.
“We do anticipate that the first group could arrive here in the District for the State of the Union,” Rodriguez said during a call with the D.C. Council.
He said D.C. police “and local law enforcement, as well as federal entities, have been coordinating for that and preparing for it” to ensure that protests can take place, but with minimal disruption to the region’s residents.
Rodriguez said there’s another group headed to D.C. from the Los Angeles area some time next Friday and will get to the District on March 5 or 6, with the goal to “disrupt traffic around the District.”
“Some groups have claimed that they don’t even intend to come into D.C., but to really sort of stay kind of on the perimeters of the city,” he said, adding that there has been significant coordination with D.C.’s partners not just in the region, but across the country.
Rodriguez said the city has talked with businesses downtown and let them know that they should expect to see road closures, although details haven’t yet been released. He expects more information about road closures to come by the weekend.
In a statement last week about security at the Capitol for the State of the Union, U.S. Capitol Police said they have been closely working with the U.S. Secret Service “to plan for the upcoming State of the Union. The temporary inner-perimeter fence is part of those ongoing discussions and remains an option, however at this time no decision has been made.”
The so-called American Truckers Freedom Fund has its routes and travel times posted online.
D.C. police said last week it’s prepared for the caravans.