The Capitol fence was reinstalled before the State of the Union and the “Freedom Convoy” fallout

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The eponymous “People’s Convoy,” a U.S.-based activist group also opposed to vaccination mandates, left Southern California on Feb. 23 for a cross-country trip. They plan to arrive in the area on March 5, but organizers stressed they intended to target the Beltway and not travel to the city.

However, multiple fallouts have sprung up on social media, including groups who intend to meet the “people’s convoy” from other parts of the country. Some have said they plan to reach DC by Tuesday, when President Biden is expected to address the nation. The different routes, dates and organizers have made it difficult to predict how many people will attend, where protests might take place, what protesters will be doing or how long they intend to stay.

Capitol Police “have worked closely with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners on a security plan to prevent any disruption to the important business of Congress,” the Capitol’s police chief said. US Capitol, Tom Manger, in a statement Sunday morning. “I have also requested assistance from outside law enforcement agencies as well as the National Guard to assist us with our security measures.”

The agency had reinstalled the temporary fence in September, before what turned out to be a small rally in support of those accused of the insurgency at the Capitol. After the January 6, 2021 riot, the barrier stood for six months – a lasting reminder of the disastrous security response – until it was removed in July.

The convoy protesters’ hostility to vaccines is just one of many right-wing anti-government beliefs held by its members, according to extremism researchers. They have also spread lies about the 2020 election results, repeated dangerous myths about human trafficking, and raged against school curricula they disapprove of.

Over the weekend, supporters even claimed in chat rooms that the war in Ukraine was distracting people from their cause.

“Why is there so much talk about Ukraine here?” we wrote. “Who cares about Ukraine?”

Although protesters have complained about the perceived violation of their “liberties” not to take the vaccine, many pandemic-related mandates have already been blocked or overturned.

In the district, the requirement for residents to show proof of vaccination to enter most businesses ended two weeks ago, and officials in parts of DC, Maryland and Virginia are scrapping warrants indoor mask.

Yet Brian Brase, a convoy organizer, said the group wanted to end the national emergency declaration in response to covid-19 – first issued by then-President Donald Trump in March. 2020 and later. extended by Biden — and for Congress to hold hearings on the government’s response to the pandemic.

Another organizer has asked to hold a March 1 rally with “hopefully 1,000 to 3,000” attendees at the Sylvan Theater on the grounds of the Washington Monument in “support of convoys in Canada,” according to a permit application submitted to the National Park Service. As of February 25, no permit had been issued.

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin (right) said last week he was also monitoring the convoy of trucks.

“I believe all Americans should have the right to express themselves,” Youngkin said. “I also cannot allow violations of the law. And so we’re going to make sure that we keep Virginia’s highways moving.

Virginia State Police have developed a plan to deal with the convoy, spokeswoman Corinne Geller said last week, though she noted the agency’s response would depend on how many truckers turn up. would actually present and what they would do when they got here.

Trucks under a certain weight must stop at weigh stations in Virginia, she explained, and federal rules establish the number of hours truckers can be on the road each day.

“If there’s no violation of the law,” Geller said, “we can’t just stop the trucks.”

Karina Elwood and Justin Jouvenal contributed to this report.

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