U.S. Capitol Police Warn Congress Of Potential ‘Truckers Convoy’ Protest In D.C.
Road closures and other security measures have begun.
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In a memo sent to congressional members and staff on Saturday morning, the U.S. Capitol Police warned of new security measures that are in place “due to the Truckers Convoy.”
The document, provided to The Uprising by a source on Capitol Hill, is the latest indication U.S. law enforcement is concerned the protests against vaccine mandates that rocked the Canadian capital city of Ottawa in recent weeks could spread south of the border.
Last week, the Capitol Police, which is responsible for security at the House and Senate office buildings, Capitol complex, and related grounds, indicated they were considering extra security and were “aware of plans for a series of truck convoys arriving in Washington, DC around the time of the State of the Union,” which is set for March 1.
The new USCP memo confirmed security measures for potential convoy protests are now in place, including a new security checkpoint near the U.S. Capitol building and three road closures that would be “in effect until further notice.” The Capitol Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Canada’s trucker protests have been promoted by leading figures on the American right — including some who were involved in the protests against former President Trump’s election loss that turned violent at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Members of the Capitol Police spent hours fighting with Trump supporters that day and many were seriously injured in the violence.
According to a statement the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department provided to The Uprising, the security measures are precautionary given that large scale protests have not begun or been officially planned.
“The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) is aware of potential First Amendment activities that may take place in the National Capital Region, including Washington, DC. At this time, a permit application has not been submitted to MPD,” the statement said. “As with all First Amendment demonstrations, MPD will be monitoring, assessing and planning accordingly with our local, state, and federal partners. We have increased available resources, including the activation of our Civil Disturbance Units, in preparation for these activities.”
The National Mall and nearby Capitol grounds are generally a hotbed of protest activity. There have been multiple demonstrations in D.C. — including some explicitly in support of the crowds who stormed the Capitol on January 6 — in the year and change since that day.
Police in Ottawa accused the demonstrators of “extremely disruptive and unlawful behaviour, which presented risks to public safety and unacceptable distress for Ottawa residents,” including use of fireworks, traffic violations, and excessive noise. The crowds, who have jammed traffic in the city and on a key bridge connecting Canada and the U.S., described a litany of grievances including economic issues and frustration with COVID rules. Many of the demonstrators have disputed the notion they are part of a far right movement despite evidence some key organizers have ties to extremist groups and white nationalist organizations. After weeks of taking a fairly hands-off approach, police in Ottawa made at least 100 arrests on Friday.
Multiple American law enforcement agencies including the Department of Homeland Security have warned of potential protests inspired by the Canadian convoy. In the statement announcing planning for extra security measures on Thursday, the Capitol police said they were working with “law enforcement agencies across the National Capital Region.”
“As with any demonstration, the USCP will facilitate lawful First Amendment activity,” the statement said. “The USCP is closely coordinating with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, including DC’s Metropolitan Police Department, the United States Park Police, the United States Secret Service and other allied agencies to include the DC National Guard.”