Modeled after the Freedom Convoy protests in Canada, multiple truck convoys from Pennsylvania, California, and other states are headed to Washington, DC to protest federal COVID mandates, inflation, and other issues.
A vehicle convoy from Pennsylvania descended on the DC Beltway Wednesday. Their goal: Create gridlock.
The convoy of eight vehicles, one 18-wheeler, five pick-up trucks, one SUV, and one sedan, was led by Scranton businessman Bob Bolus, according to Reuters. Around 10:30 a.m. they pulled out of a lot in Throop, drove through downtown Scranton, and got on Interstate 81 south.
One of the trucks was decked out with half a dozen or so flags ranging from pro-Trump flags, what appeared to be a “Q” flag referencing Qanon, to derogatory flags targeting President Joe Biden.
They drove through Harrisburg before going to the nation’s capital, where they circled the DC Beltway. Originally, Bolus told ABC 7 News the goal was to create gridlock. But he backed off that statement after the convoy left Scranton, saying the group planned to go with the flow of traffic.
“Let’s put it this way: we’re not shutting the traffic down today,” Bolus said. “If we don’t have a resolution from the government, to the rights that they’re taking from us, I will predict in the future it will get shut down.”
Bolus, who modeled the truck convoy after the recent trucker siege of the Canadian capital, is a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump and said he is leading the convoy to protest federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates, inflation, and illegal immigration.
At the end of last year, President Joe Biden announced vaccine mandates for businesses with 100 or more employees. Although it was blocked by the Supreme Court before going into effect, the mandate would not have included solo truck drivers.
Inflation is at its highest rate in decades. This can be attributed to persistent supply and labor shortages and strong demand. Biden does not control inflation rates.
“We’re all for one thing: freedom and rights,” Bolus told news outlets. “This is America. You took our freedom, you took our rights, you gave it to the illegals. You took our freedom and our rights and turned them around and you gave it to the BLMs to burn buildings and not get prosecuted. The laws don’t apply to them.”
US Capitol Police, DC’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, and about 700 unarmed National Guard troops are monitoring the situation, according to news releases. Roadblocks and barricades have been set up around the Capitol, using garbage trucks and dump trucks to block certain intersections.
Bolus’ convoy isn’t the only one headed to DC.
The People’s Convoy is a truck group that plans to drive from California to DC, arriving in the nation’s capital around March 5.
Another group called the American Truckers Freedom Convoy has various routes planned at the beginning of March, with the eventual destination for all being Washington, DC.
It’s unclear how long the protests could last. Bolus said he plans to stay a day or two.