People's Convoy descends on DC, police warn of massive traffic delay on Beltway
On Sunday, March 6, Maryland State Police warned commuters that they may face massive traffic delays on their way to work Monday morning as more than 1,000 large trucks, recreational vehicles and cars prepare to once again protest on a major highway surrounding Washington, D.C.
Maryland State Police posted a statement on Twitter on Saturday night urging drivers to anticipate higher volumes of traffic as they try to get to work on Monday, when the People's Convoy protesting unconstitutional coronavirus restrictions plans to once again loop the 64-mile Beltway.
.@mdsp once again urge motorists to anticipate higher volumes of traffic on Monday while traveling in and around the Maryland National Capital Region. Follow https://t.co/2ZO0eKCuel for the latest traffic alerts and road conditions. pic.twitter.com/luzKVFDNOG— MD State Police (@MDSP) March 7, 2022
According to the Washington Post, thousands of individuals protesting the country's vaccine and mask mandates plan to leave Hagerstown Speedway, their staging ground for the past few nights, at around 9:30 am and make their way to the Capitol early Monday morning. Any violations of the law will be addressed by troopers from the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, Automotive Safety Enforcement Division, and barracks statewide. Maryland State Police also urges residents to follow any updates at www.roads.maryland.gov.
Brain Brase, a 37-year-old driver from Ohio who is also an organizer for the People's Convoy, told the publication that they plan to loop around the Beltway just once on Monday, after circling the city twice on Sunday. But this time, he said, they will occupy two lanes instead of one as an escalation as they drive the minimum legal speed limit. Brase said that their group is coordinating with local law enforcement as well.
Brase told reporters, "We're hoping one lap by two lanes, so we get back here sooner before rush hour or anything like that, we do not want to impede traffic any more than necessary to get our message across." He also told reporters that the group plans to stay at the Hagerstown Speedway until at least Saturday.
Brase addressed a crowd of supporters Sunday morning in Hagerstown and added that they would protest peacefully. He said, "Today, we decided that we are going to go on to the Beltway, 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 trucker convoy is departing Hagerstown now— Julio-César Chávez (@JulioCesrChavez) March 6, 2022
They plan to drive twice around the beltway around DC then return for the day, with potentially more beltway driving tomorrow pic.twitter.com/99AbxFSezz
The People's Convoy is a spinoff from the protests in Canada started by truckers upset at vaccine requirements to cross the Canadian border. The Convoy traveled 2,500 miles from southern California to D.C. on an 11-day journey. The group stopped in major U.S. cities and rural towns along the way, holding rallies and meetings with their supporters.
The group has raised more than $1.6 million in donations made through its own website and is now 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.