(Headline USA) The People’s Convoy, a large group of truck drivers protesting COVID-19 mandates drove two loops around the beltway surrounding Washington, Sunday, deliberately moving slowly to impact traffic and make their feelings known to lawmakers in the nation’s capitol.
But for many accustomed to traffic jams on the clogged DC Beltway and Interstate 95, it was just business as usual. The “DMV” region (DC, Maryland and northern Virginia) routinely tops lists for the worst places to drive in the United States, and its traffic jams are notoriously bad on any given day.
“We’re not even sure we can call it a convoy any more because it’s so dispersed among routine traffic at this point,” Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller told the Washington Post.
That did not stop US Capitol Police from pre-emptively declaring a state of emergency in case the protestors decided to head into Washington, DC, itself, the Gateway Pundit reported.
But after convoy organizers signaled their desire to keep things peaceful, the impact was nowhere near that of the Canadian Freedom Convoy that inspired it.
The lack of attention to the more subdued People’s Convoy may have had to do, in part, with timing. Between the time that it was organized and the time it reached its final destination, Democrats in many blue areas where mask and vaccine mandates were still in effect decided to declare an end to the COVID pandemic.
Instead, mainstream media shifted the narrative to focus on the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, with the two-year-long pandemic seeming more and more like a distant memory for now.
Nonetheless, the convoy received a strong showing of support.
Waving people crowded onto overpasses, holding signs and American flags. Within the convoy, there were tractor–trailers with horns blaring, and some recreational vehicles and pickup trucks occasionally going by, mixed with the normal traffic on Interstate 495 in Silver Springs, Maryland.
The convoy was moving normally—albeit slowly—and while some congestion was noted, news outlets reported traffic was able to flow around the convoy. Many vehicles had American flags, while some flew Don’t Tread on Me banners.
Protesters staged at the Hagerstown Speedway in Maryland during the weekend before heading down a single lane of Interstate 81. Their plan was to drive onto the Capital Beltway, circle it twice and then return to Hagerstown.
The Washington Post also reported that convoy organizer Brian Brase intends for protesters to travel on the beltway every day during the upcoming week until their demands are met.
A video posted on Twitter showed trucks passing under a large American flag hoisted in the air by two cranes. Supporters stood along a road waving as the drivers left the speedway.
Officials with state police in Maryland and Virginia have said they will continue to monitor the activities.
Geller told CNN that law enforcement had “been in contact with various groups’ organizers to ensure their understanding of Virginia traffic laws.”
The goal, she said, was to “mitigate the impact of additional traffic volume on already congested roadways and Northern Virginia communities.”
Authorities in the District of Columbia said Sunday they are monitoring demonstration activity that is expected to begin disrupting travel on roadways in and around the region. The majority of the activity is expected to occur on the beltway. Travelers were advised to consider alternate modes of transportation.
Headline USA reached out to the convoy’s organizers for details on the event and its future plans. We will update with any developments.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press