Conflicts & War

Anti-vax truckers slow down traffic around US capital

Washington, Mar 6 (EFE).- Hundreds of truckers participating in the so-called “People’s Convoy” on Sunday drove their vehicles at slow speed around the ring-road surrounding Washington DC to protest against restrictions imposed by various government entities to try and limit the number of infections in the Covid-19 pandemic.

The big rigs moved along the roadway in single file and in a column stretching around the Beltway for some 50 kilometers (about 31 miles), according to The Washington Post.

Many of the truckers, who had planned to circle the US capital on the ring-road a number of times, had placed on their vehicles US flags and signs with former President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.”

The trucks moved along the ring-road at a speed of about 65 kph (40 mph), although the maximum allowed speed on the highway surrounding Washington is normally 90 kph (55 mph).

When the protest concludes the truckers will return to the base camp they have set up on a racetrack in Hagerstown, Maryland, some 100 km (62 miles) from Washington.

The group intends to continue the protest for the next week and continue driving their trucks around the US capital at a slow speed to slow down traffic and put pressure on the Joe Biden administration.

Their aim, as they have said on the protest’s Web site, is to get the US government to end the emergency declaration that Trump put in place in March 2020 and which has never been canceled by Biden.

They also want to eliminate the obligatory use of facemasks and not be required to provide proof of vaccination against Covid-19 before being allowed to access certain services.

The District of Columbia, where Washington DC is located, is sandwiched between the states of Virginia and Maryland. Police in both states have reported that they are closely monitoring the carvan of big rigs and have increased their presence on local highways as a precaution.

In addition, the Pentagon has approved the deployment until March 8 of 700 National Guard reservists to help local law enforcement deal with any incidents that may arise in connection with the protest.

The truckers, most of them white men, arrived in the Washington metro area on Saturday after a road trip of more than 4,000 kilometers (some 2,500 miles) that began on Feb. 23 in Southern California. As the initial group of truckers crossed the US, others joined them, swelling their ranks.

The self-described People’s Convoy began organizing almost a month ago after a similar protest by Canadian truckers, who occupied the downtown area of the Canadian capital of Ottawa and blocked several important border crossing points into the US, thus hampering bilateral trade.

Since then, however, pandemic restrictions have been significantly reduced in the US.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) more than a week ago relaxed its recommendations for the use of facemasks across much of the country and many states – along with the District of Columbia – have lifted their requirement that masks be worn in public indoor venues.

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