The so-called “People’s Convoy” protesting COVID-19 restrictions arrived in the Washington, D.C. area over the weekend. The convoy, inspired by Canada’s “freedom convoy,” started in California earlier this month. Hundreds of vehicles arrived at a racetrack in Maryland about 80 miles northwest of downtown Washington on Friday and Saturday.
“D.C., the government, whomever, can claim that they have all this opposition for us waiting in D.C.,” one man said at the racetrack Friday night. “But that flag on the back of my truck will go down to Constitution Avenue between the White House and the Washington Monument.”
On Sunday morning, the convoy drove two laps around the D.C. beltway. The vehicles drove slowly on the beltway, in an apparent attempt to slow down traffic. While some congestion was noted, news outlets reported traffic was able to flow around the convoy.
“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.
People’s Convoy leaders had said the convoy would make the same trip around the beltway Monday. Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby announced Monday that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin “has approved requests from the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) and the DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency to extend previously approved National Guard Support in the District, including around the U.S. Capitol area.” According to a tweet from a local reporter, Kirby said the guardsmen will provide “support at traffic control points…through Wednesday.”