Pelosi ‘monitoring’ possible trucker convoy protest headed for Washington DC

Law enforcement agencies in DC, Maryland, Virginia, and at the US Capitol have ramped up security

DC trucker protest organiser plans 'giant boa constrictor'

Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi is "monitoring" the possibility that a truckers' protest convoy will descend on Washington, DC in the next two weeks, according to reports.

A spokesman for Ms Pelosi told Fox News that the Speaker's office was "monitoring the situation closely" after American conservatives promised a "Freedom Convoy" inspired by the mammoth truckers' protests in Canada.

Law enforcement agencies in DC, Maryland, Virginia, and at the US Capitol have ramped up security in advance of President Joe Biden's state of the union address on 1 March.

One Trump-supporting haulage company owner has said he plans to assemble a convoy to choke off traffic around DC like "a giant boa constrictor" in protest against vaccine mandates, critical race theory, and the jail sentences for Capitol riot defendants.

The US Capitol Police said last week that it is "aware" of the plans and intends to "facilitate" legitimate activism protected by the US constitution, but may erect a security fence around the Capitol.

Mr Pelosi's spokesperson told Fox News: "We are monitoring the situation closely but deferred to the US Capitol Police, which is in charge of security."

According to the Associated Press, the US Defence Department is expected to approve the deployment of 700-800 unarmed National Guard troops to DC to control traffic and guard against disruption.

Truck-borne protesters gather before departure in Adelanto, California on 22 February

Tensions are high given last year's attack on the Capitol, in which a messy pro-Trump protest heavy on cantankerous rhetoric but without a publicly defined plan snowballed into violent attempts to usurp the election process.

On Saturday Canadian riot police deployed pepper spray, batons, and stun grenades in Ottowa as they cleared out a blockade of trucks that had paralysed Canada's capital for two weeks.

At one point, demonstrators had blocked traffic on the Ambassador Bridge that links Canada with the US state of Michigan, temporarily shutting down the two countries' biggest border crossing.

Canadian police claimed that the well-organised blockade, which featured temporary camps with generators, toilets and food vendors, was partly funded by sympathisers in the US.

Even so, it is unclear if American imitators can match their success, given the multitude of differing plans circulating on Tuesday. One group, called the People’s Convoy, plans to depart from southern California on 23 February before travelling through Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio and Maryland, arriving near Washington on 5 March.

Meanwhile, the American Truckers Freedom Fund, run by the political action committee Great American Patriot Project, lists several routes that travel across the US into Washington DC beginning on March 1.

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