(NewsNation Now) — It’s no longer a question of whether U.S. truckers plan on standing in solidarity with their Canadian counterparts in protesting COVID-19 vaccine mandates, but how. The answer, NewsNation has discovered, varies depending on the convoy.
Two separate convoy groups’ plans revealed different approaches.
“The beltway and other roads in and out of the area will be shut down,” trucker Bob Bolus told NewsNation in an interview Monday.
Bolus’ sentiments echo many of the truckers across Canada who were involved in a weekslong protest demonstrating against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for truck drivers. Canadian truck drivers blocked traffic, effectively paralyzing Canada’s capital in the process.
Trudeau also invoked the Emergencies Act, which allowed authorities to designate no-go zones and allow for truckers’ corporate and personal bank accounts to be frozen by police, according to the AP.
Ian Samuel, who clerked for the late Justice Antonin Scalia, told NewsNation’s Leland Vittert on Monday that the emergency edict Trudeau enacted in Canada could also happen in the U.S.
“They’re the ones who say what the rules are, and they’re the ones who will change them,” Samuel said. “As soon as you start to pinch their pocket, they will change those rules.”
Samuel also noted the economic impact the protests had on Canada.
“The Ambassador Bridge (beween Detroit and Windsor, which was shut down by the blockade) was actually an important piece of infrastructure that really hurt (the Canadian economy) when they shut it down,” Samuel said.
However, not all convoy participants want chaos. Maureen Steele, an organizer for The People’s Convoy, told NewsNation’s Evan Lambert her group does not want to block roads or bridges.
According to their website, the group will leave Los Angeles on Wednesday and arrive in Washington, D.C., in the first few days of March. Steele says their objectives will be clear.
“Freedom, liberty,” Steele said. “They want national emergency lifted, and we want accountability.”
She also said there will be more than just truck drivers participating: “There’s moms and Subarus and the family dog and the kids coming.”
The U.S. capital has reportedly begun preparing for similar protests from truckers against COVID-19 restrictions. The Metropolitan Police Department activated special units of about 500 officers per day who will join civil disturbance units to respond to any protests. An additional 200 officers will work traffic duty, which will call on detectives that normally investigate crimes.
NewsNation has also learned a seven-foot fence will be installed around the Capitol. It’s the same fence that was put in place after the Jan. 6 riot.
This comes after a memo from the Department of Homeland Security warned its law enforcement partners that planned demonstrations could disrupt President Joe Biden’s first State of the Union address March 1, according to The Hill.
Roads are already closed in the area, with federal and local police saying they are aware of plans for a convoy and ready to respond if things become disruptive.