The People’s Convoy, a group of truckers and others who circled the Capital Beltway twice on Sunday, hit the road again Monday but didn’t cause major disruptions on the Beltway.
The group has been cagey about its plans, although organizers have told various media outlets that they plan to continue their convoy throughout the week.
They’re protesting COVID-19 mandates, despite the fact that many restrictions are no longer in place, along with myriad other issues under the banner of “let freedom roll.”
That includes ending the national emergency declaration in response to the pandemic first issued by former President Donald Trump on March 13, 2020, and extended by President Biden. Emergency declarations essentially allow the president to direct federal resources to help state and local governments deal with disasters and other crises.
The truckers also are asking Congress to investigate the government’s handling of the pandemic.
Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) issued a news release Monday that they plan to meet with the People’s Convoy to “discuss the harmful effects of President Biden’s vaccine mandates.”
The meeting is scheduled to take place Tuesday, with a media availability afterward.
The convoy began in California and arrived in the D.C. area this past Saturday, with hundreds of trucks and other cars converging on Hagerstown, Maryland.
Organizers have stressed they do not want to cause problems.
Traffic disruptions on Sunday were minimal, and WTOP Traffic reports that there weren’t nearly as many participants Monday — roughly half of Sunday’s show.
There were some slowdowns on the Outer Loop, with the convoy driving between 35 and 45 mph.
This convoy is finally moving closer to the DC beltway after getting off to a late start this morning. Organizer say they are only taking one lap around the beltway before going back to Hagerstown. More @WTOP and @WTOPtraffic pic.twitter.com/BgJLiykq6c
— John Domen (@JDDsays) March 7, 2022
Police in Virginia, Maryland and D.C. have been coordinating to ensure the convoy does not block traffic.
In D.C., Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton said she had been briefed on the convoy situation by U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger.
“Chief Manger said there are two convoys in the area: one based out of Hagerstown and one parking at Dominion Raceway. Both are composed of vehicles from all over the country, totaling about 2,000 vehicles, including several hundred trucks,” Norton said in a statement.
“As of now, they apparently do not plan to disrupt regular business inside D.C., instead planning to drive several laps around the beltway at 45-55 miles per hour and bus some representatives into the District to meet with members of Congress. … As the situation could change, I will continue monitoring closely to ensure D.C. residents are kept safe.”
The group that left Hagerstown on Sunday around 9:30 a.m. took two hours to reach the Beltway. The truckers finished their two laps by 3:45 p.m.
WTOP Traffic said Sunday the convoy that consisted of truckers, SUVs with trailers and cars caused congestion at some points during their trip. Those cheering on the convoy from overpasses also caused traffic to slow in some spots.
The convoy mostly traveled in the center lanes of the Beltway on Sunday. WTOP Traffic reports that once the participating vehicles got onto Interstate-495, some got separated from the group.
Protest organizers told The Washington Post that they would loop the Beltway twice every day for a week until their demands are met.
The convoy’s website says they want to “Restore Our Nation’s Constitution,” though what the Constitution has to do with the U.S. COVID-19 response is unclear.
The convoy is also trying to raise money. A donations tracker said that as of Sunday, the group has raised $1.6 million of its $5 million goal.
Route truckers took Monday
Departure: From the Hagerstown Speedway, turn left onto Rt 40 to I-81 south to I-70 east to I-270 south to I-495 southReturn: I-495 to I-270 north to I-70 west to I-81 north to (exit 5B) to the AC&T truck stop to refuel. From there, we will drive I-81 north one exit to Route 40 (exit 6B) to the Hagerstown Speedway.
WTOP’s Anna Gawel contributed to this report.