Beltway trucker claims group is ‘not trying to disrupt anything’

A trucker convoy that left Scranton, Pennsylvania, Wednesday morning planned to be in the D.C. region sometime late Wednesday afternoon to hold a protest on the Capital Beltway.

Organizer Bob Bolus told WTOP only about 20 to 25 vehicles were with his group when it left Scranton, though he said additional vehicles would possibly gather with them throughout the day.

“They’re supposed to be joining up on the way, so we’ll see,” Bolus said.

The plan, he said, is to drive around the Beltway using vehicles that have messages and signs on them protesting against higher fuel costs and COVID-19 regulations, including mask and vaccine mandates.

“We’re not trying to disrupt anything,” Bolus said. “When we get to the Beltway, we’re coming there to make a statement. We’re just going to do our protest.”

It was not immediately clear whether the convoy was large enough to cause any notable traffic disruptions.

“We’ll be running 40 or 45 miles per hour at the most,” Bolus said. “We’ll probably stay out there today and probably half of the day tomorrow. We’re just playing it as it comes.”

At least two other convoys have similar protests planned over the next week or so.

Some are scheduled to arrive in time for President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on March 1, though others may arrive afterward.

The convoys follow Canada’s recent trucker protests, which shut down the busiest U.S. border crossing and besieged the streets of capital city Ottawa for weeks. The blockades — which protested pandemic restrictions — were broken up by police last week, and over 100 were arrested.

It remains to be seen if any of the U.S. convoys would seek to actively shut down D.C. streets the way the Canadian protests did. Some convoy organizers have spoken of plans to briefly roll through the District, then focus on shutting down the Beltway.

The Pentagon approved the deployment of 700 unarmed National Guard troops to the nation’s capital to assist with traffic control.

And Wednesday afternoon, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan tweeted that he’s keeping an eye on the situation as well.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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