People Convoy: Rally in Hagerstown

The truckers and their supporters are now very close to the country’s capital, where they want to hold lawmakers “responsible” for the government’s response to the epidemic. Their plans for the coming days were opaque on Saturday afternoon, but organizers said they would like to stay here for an hour’s journey from the Beltway throughout the day and hold the rally in the evening.

The convoy’s motives were also muddy. People gathered in this western Maryland city described the frustrations about workplace vaccination orders and restrictions designed to control the spread. Corona virus – Although those rules have now been removed in many places. Speedway crowds chanted slogans against President Biden and expressed support for former President Donald Trump. Extremist analysts point to broader right-wing reasons that motivate participants.

Trucks and cars entered the Speedway compound Saturday morning, waving the American flag from a cable between two 30-foot booms attached to half-tow-trucks. Inside, truckers and their supporters were awake after a Friday night rally. Most of the crowd were white, but there were also some small children and dogs.

Tanker trucks, flats, box trailers, RVs and pickup trucks line up in the parking lot, carrying license plates from Utah, Maine, Arkansas, Texas and other states. The chorus of horn-blowing horns waited for their next move from the area where the convoy vehicles were lined up.

On Friday night, convoy organizer Brian Brace saw the crowd, some wearing red-and-white and blue beanies, waving American flags and asking them to celebrate the distance they had traveled. But they will have to wait a long time to find their ultimate goal and what to do once they get there.

“Well, we’re going to do something,” he laughed. “It’s not yet decided what this is. Please be patient.”

Organizers of the self-titled “People Convoy” insisted they would not go into DC and had previously said they would target the Beltway area on Saturday. But Brace announced on Friday morning to supporters in Lore City, Ohio, that those plans had changed. They were staying in Hagerstown on Saturday before targeting another location “two miles from the Beltway,” he said, without giving specific details.

When asked about the group’s plans, People’s Conway organizer Mike Landis said: “We’m going to keep annoying DC ப்படுத்து surprise them a little.” He continued: “Look, we are truck drivers; We are very spontaneous. “

The possibility of caravans of truckers heading to the Beltway raised security concerns, prompting police agencies from DC, Maryland and Virginia to monitor the group. Supporters have been attending and leaving throughout the trip, making it difficult to estimate the size of the convoy.

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Authorities across the region advised drivers to be prepared for severe traffic congestion over the weekend. “This is a very fluid situation,” said Ellen Camillagis, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Friday night, the mood of the group was celebratory and proud. Truckers shouted “Take me home, Country Road” and ate spaghetti, burgers and chicken tacos provided by supporters. Leaders stood on the makeshift platform of a flatbed truck and slammed the federal government for imposing vaccination and mask orders, believing the policies violate their fundamental rights as Americans.

Protesters, self-styled “Independent convoyThey have been occupying the city of Ottawa for weeks, complaining that their independence is being violated. Some truckers displayed flags mixing stars and lines with Canadian maple leaf.

Extremist researchers who have been following the movement say the hostility of protesters to vaccines is one of the many anti-government, right-wing beliefs they support. The flats, semis and other trucks and cars in the Speedway parking area were decorated White House Medical Adviser Anthony S. Signs and messages referring to Fouzi, calling for “arrest of Fazi” and referring to extreme right-wing political views and conspiracy theories, including the equating of slavery. Some supporters wore Make America Great Again hats. Others waved flags bearing a note Explicit slogan against Biden.

On Saturday, billboards and banners with political slogans, Bible verses and expressions of patriotism were spread. Someone read “Open Keystone Pipeline”. Others: “Trump won,” and “We will not comply.”

A woman handed out free copies of the Bible from a stand near another supporter selling “People’s Convoy” T-shirts.

The panel wants to put an end to the declaration of a national emergency in response to the Corona virus – first published by then – President Donald Trump in March 2020, then extended by President Biden – and Brace said Congress should conduct further investigations into the government’s response to the epidemic.

Craig Brown, 53, left his home in Sandpoint, Idaho, two weeks ago. He was a freight truck driver who delivered apples to Los Angeles near Convoy Launch Point in Adelaide, California. He felt embarrassed that the government could expect him to get such a new vaccine, and he wanted to teach his teens. Daughters need to stand up for what they believe. So he bought indestructible food for a month, installed an extra freezer in his vehicle and started joining a movement.

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On February 23, a group of American truckers set out across the country from California to Washington to fight corona virus control. (Reuters)

On the way to Los Angeles, Brown blew up the back of his truck and waited five days for repairs. Before discovering the other truckers, he adopted a two-year-old Golden Retriever named Brown Copper.

On Feb. 23, he joined the group on its way out of Southern California. Since then, Brown said the trip has been much more exciting than he could have imagined. People all over the country have made signs to support them, and many volunteers have brought food to relax so he doesn’t have to tap his indestructible stuff.

“It’s a high, all-people view over flyovers and sidewalks,” Brown said. “All of these people treat us like heroes.”

Brown, who suffered from Govt-19 illness last month, said he did not want to do anything political in DC, stopping with truckers and their supporters and ending the trip by eating together.

“We’re going to eat, we’re going to celebrate, we’re going to enjoy a crowd of people who think we are heroes,” he said.

During the march, supporters were standing on cold highway overpasses waving American flags. They cheered at the rallies and continued their journey on social media. More donations piled up. By Monday, the group said it had raised more than $ 1.5 million.

A convoy participant said during a live broadcast on YouTube on Friday that “selected trucks will go to the White House”, but stressed that the entire crew would not go into the city. He did not elaborate on those plans, and there were no signs that they would be completed until Saturday afternoon.

“I do not want people to think we’re invading DC,” he told the live stream. “This is not a convoy going into DC Commons. These are just some of the goal setting shareware that you can use. “

National Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst said Friday that there will be no convoy permit applications for the trucker in the coming days. Large trucks are banned from many roads in the district, and there are a number of rules governing their operation, including how long they must be idle.

In Hagerstown, Heather Kelly, 43, a former nurse, said she had always had the vaccines needed for her job, but did not want to get what she saw as a novel govt shot. His opposition to the mask rules and vaccination orders – and the loss of confidence in the government he claimed to have instigated – elevated his life. He quit his job at a long-term care center and drove his children out of school.

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“You have the will, the freedom,” she said. “You let the government tell you to put something in your face. Should I cover my head next as if I were in a Muslim country?”

Kelly, who claimed to have voted for Barack Obama as president in 2008, arrived in Washington for a pro-Trump rally on January 6, 2021, but said he was unaware of the attack on the Capitol until he returned home in Ohio. . A year later, he loaded his 18-year-old son into their minivan and joined the convoy.

“I was working hard. I was driving. I spent my childhood childhood in medical school,” Kelly confronted her son under the yellow light of the truck lights, and her eyes were fine. “

Jim Hasner drove a truck in Indiana and joined the convoy. He owns his own company and blames epidemic controls for economic struggles.

Like some other participants, he blamed the censorship of the mainstream media and the government for covering up the real truth about the epidemic. He said a virus that had killed more than 1,600 people in the United States on Friday was “gone.”

“It would be great if people were honest about things,” he said. “The government is honest about how it is and honest about what the vaccine really is. It needs some transparency in the media because it’s not accurate.

Robert Erickson, 58, of Amarillo, Tex., Joined the convoy west on February 27, describing his truck as “home on wheels.”

On the outside, it read, “God and country.” Inside, with a stove, deep fryer, two burner stoves and a pair of 12-pound weights, the sleeper was set up long distances down the road to “keep his body parts.” Bottles of alkaloids and metabolism-supporting gums sat on top of the fryer.

Ericsson said he would not vote in general, but went to Trump in 2016. For him the convoy was not a political movement. Instead, he said he wanted everyone in government to resign.

“We have to start all over again,” he said.

Duncan reported from Washington. Jasmine Hilton and Peter Herman contributed to this report.

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