DC Version of Canada Truck Protests a Dud
The plans to replicate the chaos in the Great White North are not coming together.
Daily Beast (“‘People’s Convoy’ Truckers Are Still Very Confused About Their D.C. Plans“):
Hundreds of truckers and thousands of people from across the country gathered at a small speedway nearly an hour and a half outside the nation’s capital on Friday night, as “the People’s Convoy” nears the end of its cross-country voyage in protest of COVID-19 mandates.
But, on the eve of the truckers’ final leg, confusion was almost as thick as the mix of diesel and cigarette smoke billowing through the air at the Hagerstown raceway. No one could say exactly what they were doing next: Would they drive into D.C., occupy the National Mall, or just clog up the circular Beltway?
Ahead of an 8 p.m. ET rally, truckers who spoke with The Daily Beast all had different ideas on their Saturday plans, and no one knew who was in charge of the overall convoy or what exactly they would be doing come morning as they headed in the direction of D.C.
Jim Worthington—the owner of a 10-truck fleet stationed in Buffalo, New York—said he brought five of his trucks on the trip out of “frustration” and insisted the nation is in a “state of emergency.”
As for what he plans to do Saturday morning, he said there was discussion about partaking in a rally on the National Mall, where truckers would “occupy” the city.
“There was a permit allocated for the National Mall, so we would go down and occupy D.C.,” he told The Daily Beast, adding that he does not intend to “block roads.”
Another trucker from Connecticut, Frank Karatkizcz, proposed a different idea: Instead of truckers going to D.C., he encouraged lawmakers to make a trip out to the small Maryland city to see them.
“Want senators and congressmen to come listen,” Karatkizcz said, proposing that The People’s Convoy leadership, which continues to operate behind the curtains, should meet directly with members of Congress. “We want to be heard.”
Karatkizcz suggested that entering D.C. with nearly 200 long-haul trucks in tow was a possibility—but made it clear that creating “turmoil” wasn’t his goal.
While entering D.C. was very much on the table for many truckers, another convoy member told The Daily Beast that he felt even going near the Capital Beltway was a “trap.”
“We know it’s a trap,” Connecticut-based trucker Marvin Cote told The Daily Beast.
He went on to claim that being near the Beltway could expose truckers to arrest, citing actions taken against fellow drivers in Ottawa, Canada, during their own weeks-long illegal demonstration. “This whole thing is a trap. We already know this!”
He continued, “We have to wait and see what’s on the board from the powers to be.” But when asked who he believed to be in charge, Cote couldn’t answer.
“You notice how Russia was blowing out,” Cote said. “Russia is the distraction for what is going on here!”
Despite truckers saying otherwise, on the convoy’s website, the semi-organized group claims: “We are NOT going into DC proper.” Other convoys that have been trailing the lead convoy, including the “Convoy 4 Freedom” and the “Freedom Convoy,” haven’t made it clear whether or not they intend to actually enter the city.
NBC News reported Friday that Freedom Convoy organizer Dan Fitzegerald has told supporters that “there will be select trucks going to the White House.”
A man who identified himself as one of the People’s Convoy’s 30 organizers declined to give his name to The Daily Beast and also refused to comment on their plans for Saturday. But another self-identified organizer, John Blazek, said, “Yes, that’s the plan,” when asked if the convoy intends to enter D.C. proper on Saturday.
Ten days ago, it looked very much like the “Freedom Convoy” was coming to DC. As it would have potentially snarled my daily commute, I paid rapt attention as it unfolded. Day after day, it seemed to be stalling out. The gang coming from Pennsylvania—which is only a two-hour drive—got cold feet. The convoy from California only made it as far as Las Vegas. “Tens of thousands” were expected. We seem to be down to dozens.
At one point, the rally was going to involve the State of the Union address. That’s already passed.
More fundamentally, the protest was ostensibly about mask mandates and vaccine requirements. The CDC pretty much ended the former a week ago and federal judges have more-or-less ended the latter.
And, rather clearly, while there are a lot of people frustrated by a lot of things at the moment, there aren’t all that many interested in getting arrested over it. C’est la vie.