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People’s Convoy circles Washington DC Beltway and promises to ‘hold the line’

The now 30-mile-long People’s Convoy is circling the Washington D.C. Beltway in protest of ‘unconstitutional’ coronavirus restrictions, such as mask and vaccine mandates.

The self-styled freedom convoy departed from the speedway in Hagerstown, Maryland Sunday morning on a journey to parade the 64-mile highway surrounding the capital city.

‘Hold the line,’ organizer Brian Brase told the crowd of drivers before they headed out, instructing them to stay with the protest. 

‘I beg of you to stay with the convoy. I beg of you to stay with the convoy and then come back down here, meet again and talk about our next plan.’

Brase, who was met with applause, added: ‘We are not going to sit idly by. We are going to continue to press forward with our mission, but we are also going to do so with some diplomacy to show that we are not unreasonable and willing to talk, but also flex our muscle if you do not hear us.’   

The group plans to circle the Beltway twice – a route that should take about four to five hours. Drivers were reminded to maintain safe distances, speeds of approximately 40 to 50 miles per hour and to be mindful of possible rainy weather conditions.

The convoy is reportedly cooperating with state and local law enforcement and does not plan to cause havoc in the area. Authorities had previously voiced concerns that the trucker protest could result in chaos similar to the January 6 Capitol riot.

Brase told the Washington Post Friday night that the group would continue its route around the Beltway each day this week, clogging one of the main arteries into DC until the group’s demands are met. However, as of Saturday morning, he indicated that plans will be determined day-by-day. 

Another organizer did not rule out the trucks honking their horns along Pennsylvania Avenue. 

‘I can tell you now that there will be select trucks going to the White House,’ organizer Dan Fitzgerald revealed on his Friday morning livestream. ‘I don’t want people thinking we are invading D.C. This is not the convoy going into D.C. commons. This is a few select drivers.’  

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND – MARCH 6: The now 30-mile-long People’s Convoy is circling the Washington DC Beltway in protest of ‘unconstitutional’ coronavirus restrictions, such as mask and vaccine mandates

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND - MARCH 6: 'Hold the line,' organizer Brian Brase told the crowd of drivers before they headed out, instructing them to stay with the protest

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND – MARCH 6: ‘Hold the line,’ organizer Brian Brase told the crowd of drivers before they headed out, instructing them to stay with the protest

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND - MARCH 6: The self-styled freedom convoy departed from the speedway in Hagerstown, Maryland Sunday morning on a journey to parade the 64-mile highway surrounding the capital city

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND – MARCH 6: The self-styled freedom convoy departed from the speedway in Hagerstown, Maryland Sunday morning on a journey to parade the 64-mile highway surrounding the capital city

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND - MARCH 6: The group plans to circle the Beltway twice - a route that should take about four to five hours - in peaceful protest before returning to the Hagerstown Speedway

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND – MARCH 6: The group plans to circle the Beltway twice – a route that should take about four to five hours – in peaceful protest before returning to the Hagerstown Speedway

‘Today, we decided that we are going to go on to the Beltway,’ Brase said to the crowd of cheering supporters Sunday morning in Hagerstown.

‘We are going to do this peacefully, we’re going to do this with some class. We’re going to do this the way that we’ve done it coming all the way across the country. We’re not going to shut anything down today. We’re just going to do a convoy so that they can see that we’re in their backyard and that we are huge. ‘

The People’s Convoy – a spinoff from a protest in Canada started by truckers upset at vaccine requirements to cross the Canadian border – traveled from southern California nearly 2,500 miles to D.C. on an 11-day journey. The group stopped in major U.S. cities and rural towns along they way, holding rallies and meeting with their supporters.

Brase, speaking Sunday, acknowledged their successes but said the group still has a long way to go to achieve its mission: ‘We still have a long way to go in this, but I am seeing light. I am seeing people that are willing to sit down and meet in D.C. I’m seeing people willing to come to the table.’

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‘It doesn’t mean they’re going to do anything, but at least we’re starting that conversation. At least the people are staring to be heard, whether they do anything with that, is yet to be determined,’ he added. ‘But at least we’re started to get invited to the table finally, instead of their lobbyist.’

He instructed supporters to keep their hotels, suggesting the group may continue the protest throughout the week. Brase also reminded the group of their mission, noting it was not to cause chaos but to remind U.S. leaders that they serve the American people. 

‘We’re doing this to let them know that we are very serious,’ he reiterated. ‘We’re doing this to let them know we will not give in. We will not bend the knee to them and to remind them that they work for us.’   

The People’s Convoy – which has raised more than $1.6 million in donations made through its own website – is demanding that President Joe Biden end the national emergency originally declared at the start of the pandemic, as well as scrap any remaining coronavirus mandates. 

The truckers allege the government has infringed upon their constitutional rights with the mandates. 

However, their protest comes as nearly every state in America has either lifted or relaxed indoor mask mandates, or has set a date to do so in the near future. The lone holdout is Hawaii, the island state that has had the strictest mandates of anywhere in the country throughout the pandemic. Additionally, only 19 states currently have vaccine mandates in effect, according to the National Academy for State Health Policy – but the mandates do not apply to all individuals and their requirements vary by state.

Some political analysts allege the group is also calling for over-arching federal accountability and addressing additional political issues such as the alleged ‘fraudulent’ 2020 election and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.   

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND - MARCH 6: Brase (not pictured) said the convoy is cooperating with state and local law enforcement and does not plan to cause havoc in the area

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND – MARCH 6: Brase (not pictured) said the convoy is cooperating with state and local law enforcement and does not plan to cause havoc in the area

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND - MARCH 6: Organizers said Friday night that the group would continue its route around the Beltway each day this week, clogging one of the main arteries into DC until the group’s demands are met

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND – MARCH 6: Organizers said Friday night that the group would continue its route around the Beltway each day this week, clogging one of the main arteries into DC until the group’s demands are met

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND - MARCH 6: However, as of Saturday morning, Brase (not pictured) told DailyMail.com's on-site reporter that plans will be determined day-by-day

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND – MARCH 6: However, as of Saturday morning, Brase (not pictured) told DailyMail.com’s on-site reporter that plans will be determined day-by-day

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND - MARCH 6: Another organizer did not rule out the trucks honking their horns along Pennsylvania Avenue, saying Friday: 'I can tell you now that there will be select trucks going to the White House. I don't want people thinking we are invading D.C. This is not the convoy going into D.C. commons. This is a few select drivers'

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND – MARCH 6: Another organizer did not rule out the trucks honking their horns along Pennsylvania Avenue, saying Friday: ‘I can tell you now that there will be select trucks going to the White House. I don’t want people thinking we are invading D.C. This is not the convoy going into D.C. commons. This is a few select drivers’

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND - MARCH 6: The People's Convoy - a spinoff from a protest in Canada started by truckers upset at vaccine requirements to cross the Canadian border - is demanding that President Joe Biden end the national emergency originally declared at the start of the pandemic, as well as scrap any remaining coronavirus mandates

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND – MARCH 6: The People’s Convoy – a spinoff from a protest in Canada started by truckers upset at vaccine requirements to cross the Canadian border – is demanding that President Joe Biden end the national emergency originally declared at the start of the pandemic, as well as scrap any remaining coronavirus mandates

The group’s arrival to the greater D.C. area prompted security concerns and placed authorities on high-alert. 

D.C. and Capitol Police have called on agencies from Maryland and Virginia, as well as the National Guard, to monitor the group.

Photographs from Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency showed National Guard troops fanned out across the region on Saturday.  

Officials had reinstalled the fencing around the Capitol ‘out of an abundance of caution’ ahead of Biden’s State of the Union address. Authorities had previously indicated the fencing would remain for the trucker protest, however it appeared to have been taken down the day after the speech. The fencing was last erected after the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. 

Meanwhile, D.C. police spokesperson Dustin Sternback has called the convoy a ‘fluid situation’ and noted Friday: ‘Any sort of response strategies will be implemented in real time.’    

However, convoy leaders say they plan to cooperate with police and hope there are any disruptions, besides the planned interruption to Beltway traffic. But, organizers are prepared in case any negativity was to occur. 

Brase, speaking to the crowd Sunday, reiterated that the group will not be going into the capital city ‘at this time’ and said the last thing he wants is a recreation of the Canadian trucker protest.  

‘We are not going into D.C. proper at this time,’ Brase announced Sunday. 

‘It does not mean it won’t happen. It means we are doing it diplomatically. We are working through the process and giving them time to come to the table.’

He added:  ‘The last thing we want to happen is what happened in Ottawa – and if you don’t think it won’t happen here, you are dead wrong.’ 

Canada’s self-styled Freedom Convoy saw hundreds of trucks eventually occupy the streets around Parliament Hill in Ottawa, shutting down key parts of the capital city for more than three weeks. 

For almost a week the busiest U.S.-Canada border crossing, the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, was blocked. There were also blockades at a handful of other Canada-U.S. border posts. 

The protest ended after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked never-before-used emergency powers authorizes the Canadian government to utilize broad powers and tools to respond to crisis. Ottawa protesters were chased away by officers sporting riot gear in what was the biggest police operation in Canada’s history. Nearly 200 people had been arrested and at least 115 vehicles were towed.   

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND - MARCH 6: The truckers allege the government has infringed upon their constitutional rights with the pandemic-era mandates

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND – MARCH 6: The truckers allege the government has infringed upon their constitutional rights with the pandemic-era mandates

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND - MARCH 6: However, their protest comes as nearly every state in America has either lifted or relaxed indoor mask mandates, or has set a date to do so in the near future. The lone holdout is Hawaii, the island state that has had the strictest mandates of anywhere in the country throughout the pandemic. Additionally, only 19 states currently have vaccine mandates in effect

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND – MARCH 6: However, their protest comes as nearly every state in America has either lifted or relaxed indoor mask mandates, or has set a date to do so in the near future. The lone holdout is Hawaii, the island state that has had the strictest mandates of anywhere in the country throughout the pandemic. Additionally, only 19 states currently have vaccine mandates in effect

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND - MARCH 6: Some political analysts allege the group is also calling for over-arching federal accountability and addressing additional political issues such as the alleged 'fraudulent' 2020 election and Russia's invasion of Ukraine

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND – MARCH 6: Some political analysts allege the group is also calling for over-arching federal accountability and addressing additional political issues such as the alleged ‘fraudulent’ 2020 election and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND - MARCH 6: The group's arrival to the greater D.C. area prompted security concerns and placed authorities on high-alert. D.C. and Capitol Police have called on agencies from Maryland and Virginia, as well as the National Guard, to monitor the group. Officials say the fencing around the Capitol has been put back up 'out of an abundance of caution'

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND – MARCH 6: The group’s arrival to the greater D.C. area prompted security concerns and placed authorities on high-alert. D.C. and Capitol Police have called on agencies from Maryland and Virginia, as well as the National Guard, to monitor the group. Officials say the fencing around the Capitol has been put back up ‘out of an abundance of caution’

The People’s Convoy held a rally attended by 1,000 vehicles at the Hagerstown Speedway Saturday night ahead of their big convoy around the Beltway. 

Fireworks lit up the sky Saturday night and a giant American flag was unfurled, illuminated by the lights of dozens of trucks, as thousands of demonstrators joined the truckers at the speedway. 

Although the group had been holding rallies across the nation to connect with their supporters and raise awareness about their mission, Saturday was the first time the People’s Convoy announced plans to circle the Beltway.

Other convoys – including some that have since disbanded – had mentioned it, but the People’s Convoy had routinely sworn not to disrupt roads or bridges like their Canadian counterparts did.

‘We don’t want to shut D.C. down,’ Brase told rally-goers Saturday night, the Post reported. ‘We’re not anti-vaxxers. We’re not. We just want freedom, freedom. We want to choose. We just want the choice. So tomorrow is a basically a show of just how big we are and how serious we are.’ 

Brase and the other convoy leaders have promised a ‘100% safe, lawful and peaceful journey’ that will ‘terminate in the vicinity of the D.C. area, but will NOT be going into D.C. proper.’ 

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND - MARCH 5: The People's Convoy held a rally attended by 1,000 vehicles at the Hagerstown Speedway Saturday night ahead of their big convoy around the Beltway

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND – MARCH 5: The People’s Convoy held a rally attended by 1,000 vehicles at the Hagerstown Speedway Saturday night ahead of their big convoy around the Beltway

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND - MARCH 5: Large American flag is unfurled in front of People's Convoy trucks as thousands of spectators shout and cheer at speedway in Maryland on Saturday night

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND – MARCH 5: Large American flag is unfurled in front of People’s Convoy trucks as thousands of spectators shout and cheer at speedway in Maryland on Saturday night

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND - MARCH 5: Fireworks explode over parked trucks from People's Convoy at speedway in Hagerstown, Maryland on Saturday night

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND – MARCH 5: Fireworks explode over parked trucks from People’s Convoy at speedway in Hagerstown, Maryland on Saturday night

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND - MARCH 5: A group of convoy supporters are seen holding signs in support of the truckers and their mission

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND - MARCH 5: Rally-goers held up a giant American flag while hundreds of vehicles including 18-wheeler trucks, RVs and other cars are parked as part of the gathering at Hagerstown Speedway

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND – MARCH 5: Rally-goers were spotted waving signs (left) and were invited to hold up a giant American flag (right) while hundreds of vehicles including 18-wheeler trucks, RVs and other cars are parked as part of the gathering at Hagerstown Speedway

Another People’s Convoy participant, who has described himself as a lead trucker in the protest, told Reuters Friday night that he would drive his truck into the heart of the American capital.

‘D.C., the government, whomever, can claim that they have all this opposition for us waiting in D.C.,’ the unnamed man said. ‘But that flag on the back of my truck will go down to Constitution Avenue between the White House and the Washington Monument.’

Meanwhile, as the truckers protested COVID mandates in Hagerstown, a group of veterans gathered at the Freedom Plaza in D.C. in opposition of the convoy.

The veterans argued they don’t agree with the message the convoy is pushing.  

‘I believe that a patriot is someone who puts the nation before themselves and that is what we’re a striving to do here,’ Linsay Rousseau with veteran organization Continue to Serve told WJLA

‘There’s this misunderstanding that because they’re so loud they speak for the majority of the population, and that’s just not true,’ she added. ‘They absolutely do not speak for us. They do not speak for the majority of Americans when it comes to fact-based science, when it comes to COVID and the fact that they’re claiming, “This is about COVID mandates” is an absolute misnomer.’ 

They were also joined by representatives from other unions, including groups that represent truckers, who opposed the convoy’s protest.


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