DC police ready for possible anti-mandate trucker caravan

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has asked D.C. police to prepare for a convoy of truckers set to arrive in Washington next month with plans to protest vaccine mandates.

It remains to be seen if the group plans to cause the type of disruption seen in Canada, when truckers with a similar agenda blocked the border.

D.C. police Chief Robert Contee said it is unclear what the so-called American Truckers have planned, but he is prepping law enforcement for possible disruption.

“I think we have to be realistic about, you know, what we could potentially see,” Contee said. “There will be disruptions to traffic, that kind of thing. And I think we need to be very candid with the public about what some of the expectations (are) based upon what we’ve seen in Ottawa.”

On its website, the American Truckers Freedom Fund posted its planned route from Spokane, Washington, to D.C. with an expected start date of March 1, which would see trucks arriving in the nation’s capital on or around March 6.

D.C. police confirmed there are leave restrictions in place, but the timeline is fluid. The plan put forward by the American Truckers group is only one of several for a Canada-style convoy being discussed on Facebook and the Telegram message app; others instead cite mid to late March as start dates. As of Friday, none had materialized.

In its mission statement, American Truckers said its aim is to create a simple means for millions of Americans to stand together.

“Once set in motion, the moment can then be extended by days, weeks or as long as is needed to spread across our sovereign United States and reach all patriotic people,” it said. “In carrying out our mission, we will remain focused on those things that unite us, not divide us.”

There is no permit request into the National Park Service for a protest on federal land, according to spokesman Mike Litterst. However, it is unclear if there will be an organized effort to block traffic, as was the case across Canada.

“I think in the District of Columbia, we have a subway system; we have alternative modes of transportation. We love to bike in our city; people love to walk,” Contee said.

Contee said he will inform the public about plans to mitigate any disruption as the event draws closer.

The mission statement indicates the group has plans to peacefully meet with lawmakers, likely regarding vaccine mandates.

“We will seek to find common ground with those whom we elected to represent and defend us, and join with them to reverse course, to ‘alter the route,’ and restore our liberty and our freedom rights,” it read.

WTOP reached out to the American Truckers Freedom Fund for more details on its plan.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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