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Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is coming under intense fire for her heavy-handed reaction concerning the approval of the Pentagon’s deployment of National Guard troops as trucker convoys begin their journey to the Capitol to protest pandemic restrictions beginning next week.
The Pentagon has approved the deployment of 700 to 800 unarmed National Guard troops to the nation’s capital, a U.S. official said on Tuesday according to the Daily Mail, in the face of trucker convoys that are planning protests against pandemic restrictions beginning next week.
The convoys will reportedly descend on DC for President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address. Troops will ostensibly be used to help control traffic.
“The Department is analyzing a request for assistance from the U.S. Capitol Police and the DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said in a statement.
(Video Credit: FOX 5 Washington DC)
“Those agencies have asked for National Guard personnel to provide support at traffic control points in and around the District to help the USCP [U.S. Capitol Police] and D.C. government address potential challenges stemming from possible disruptions at key traffic arteries,” he added.
Bowser’s office said in a statement Tuesday night:
“The District of Columbia and its public safety agencies are aware of and prepared for potential demonstrations that may take place in the National Capital Region in the weeks ahead. Mayor Bowser is being briefed by public safety officials as we continue to monitor the situation closely, and our agencies remain in regular contact with their local, regional, and federal partners. Layered mitigation measures are being put in place, including some that will be visible to the public and others that are not. We appreciate the approval of our DC National Guard traffic support request as we pull together the resources to support our public safety personnel.”
The “American Truckers Freedom Fund,” “Peoples Convoy” and the “Convoy to Save America” are following in the footsteps of the Canadian truckers’ “Freedom Convoy” that protested against COVID mandates and government overreach. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had police break up the protests last week with more than 100 arrests.
(Video Credit: Reuters)
All of the convoys have different starting places, departure dates, and routes.
Many contend that DC and the Department of Defense are overreacting in response to the convoys.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Tuesday that she is “closely monitoring” trucker convoys on their way to DC ahead of Biden’s address.
“We are monitoring the situation closely but deferred to the USCP, which is in charge of security,” Drew Hammill, who is a senior staffer and spokesman for Pelosi, told Fox News.
Just to keep things fair, Mayor Muriel Bowser needs to paint “Honk Honk” on a DC street
— Vince Coglianese (@VinceCoglianese) February 21, 2022
Capitol Police have scheduled officers for 12-hour shifts, with plans to reinstall the fencing that surrounded the Capitol complex last year.
“The United States Capitol Police and the United States Secret Service have been closely working together to plan for the upcoming State of the Union,” the US Capitol Police commented on Friday. “The temporary inner-perimeter fence is part of those ongoing discussions and remains an option, however at this time no decision has been made.”
“There will be disruptions to traffic, that kind of thing,” Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee stated. “I think we need to be very candid with the public about what some of the expectations, based upon what we’ve seen in Ottawa, that we might see here in the District.”
Contee said the Ottawa standoff is “an incredible situation – one that we have not seen here in the District of Columbia.”
“We’re not at a point to give specific instructions to residents just yet. We will,” Bowser also warned in a statement.
Thread (1/4): The District of Columbia and its public safety agencies are aware of and prepared for potential demonstrations that may take place in the National Capital Region in the weeks ahead. pic.twitter.com/7BY7DM2Gnw
— Alert DC (@AlertDC) February 23, 2022
A statement from the “People’s Convoy” specifically says that the trucks “will NOT be going into DC proper.”
“We want this government to bring back the Constitution,” organizer for “People’s Convoy” Mike Landis said. “We do not want to be under a dictatorship communism-style regime, like where we are right now.”
Thousands of truckers could participate in the protests, according to Fox News.
Bob Bolus, who’s leading a convoy from Pennsylvania to Washington on Wednesday, plans to help shut down the Capital Beltway on Friday.
“The Beltway will be shut down,” Bolus told Fox News. “I’ll give you an analogy of that of a giant boa constrictor that basically squeezes you, chokes you, and then swallows you. And that’s what we’re going to do to DC.”
“We will not compromise anybody’s safety or health. As far as if they [people] can’t get to work, geez, that’s too bad,” he remarked.
Bolus said in a flyer that he’s leading truckers from Harrisburg to Washington to take a stand against President Biden’s “tyrannical machine’s attempt to remove our inalienable rights.”
On Tuesday, he said he no longer intended to shut down the Beltway according to Fox 5, but still plans to drive on the Beltway if he gets enough truckers to join his convoy from Scranton, PA. He stated that law enforcement contacted him about his plans following FOX 5’s interview with him.
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