WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office confirmed Tuesday night that the National Guard has been authorized to assist with traffic control ahead of possible trucker demonstrations — one of which could be in the city as soon as Wednesday night.
Much remains unknown about how disruptive protests could be and exactly when and how the region will be impacted.
FOX 5 was first to report on plans by one convoy organizer, Bob Bolus, who said Sunday he would arrive in the D.C. region Wednesday night with plans to shut down the Capital Beltway.
On Tuesday, he said he no longer intended to shut down the Beltway, but still had plans to drive on the Beltway if he gets enough truckers to join his convoy from Scranton, Pa. He also said law enforcement contacted him about his plans following FOX 5’s interview.
Meanwhile, in California, what could be the largest planned convoy gathered in Adelanto Tuesday night with plans to head out Wednesday on a ten-day trip to D.C.
Maureen Steele, an organizer with The People’s Convoy, said she doesn’t know exactly how many will join, but they are expecting a large number of truckers and others who support the cause.
When asked what they planned to do when they reached D.C., Steele said that is not being released yet, even to those joining the convoy.
A press release says the convoy will arrive in the D.C. region Saturday, March 4 but will not enter D.C. proper to "abide by agreements with local authorities."
When asked about the number one thing Steele wants to see come of the convoy, she said, "Freedom." When pressed on what specific freedom she replied, "The freedoms we’ve been stripped of and liberties we’ve been stripped of for the last two years. We want our freedoms back."
She said they are vetting every truck that joins the convoy.
"We have security teams that have been hired, bomb sniffing dogs," said Steele. "Every truck that’s in The People’s Convoy is going to be vetted and inspected before it hits the road."
The D.C. region is also focused on security. There were increased D.C. police patrols out Tuesday night with additional city trucks blocking streets. On Wednesday, D.C. police will deploy civil disturbance units. City employees were warned by email of disruptions that could last until March 13.
Tuesday night, Prince George’s County Public Schools warned parents of possible bus delays due to convoys.
D.C. Mayor Muriel 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.
Residents should remain vigilant and report suspicious activity by calling 202-727-9099, texting 50411, or visiting iwatchdc.org. Always report all threats and emergencies to 911 immediately. Residents, businesses, and visitors can sign up for real-time text updates at alert.dc.gov and are encouraged to follow @AlertDC, @MayorBowser, @DCPoliceDept, and @DC_HSEMA on social media."