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US truckers plan to 'squeeze' DC this week with Freedom Convoy

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DUSTIN FRANZ/AFP via Getty Images

"Freedom Convoy" protesters are expected to congregate in Washington, D.C., this week as U.S. truckers opposed to President Joe Biden's federal vaccine mandates seek to emulate their Canadian brethren.

Bob Bolus, an organizer of one of the convoys, told local D.C. media that the plan is to "squeeze" the nation's capital like a "boa constrictor" and shut down the city.

"We will be along the Beltway where the Beltway will be shut down," he told WTTG-TV.

Bolus owns a truck parts and towing business in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He said he plans to leave for D.C. on Wednesday morning and head to the Capital Beltway.

There he hopes to join other trucker convoys that are making their way to D.C. this week like "The People's Convoy," which will leave from California on Wednesday.

"I'll give you an analogy of that of a giant boa constrictor," Bolus said. "That basically squeezes you, chokes you and it swallows you, and that's what we're going to do to D.C."

Bolus told WTTG he's unsure how many truckers will join him but said he's heard interest from hundreds of people.

The California convoy is being organized by Marueen Steele, who told Newsweek that some 1,000 truckers will begin the trip east on Feb. 23. She said more will join the convoy as they cross the nation in a movement to "restore our nation's constitution."

Steele said that the convoy will begin in Barstow, California, and then head east along Interstate 40, but she would not disclose the specific location for security.

"The Canadian convoy was pretty organic when it happened," she said. "Ours, they had a month's notice, so our concern is disruptive groups coming in. We're trying to just prepare for counter-protests and to take safety precautions for that."

A declaration on the People's Convoy website demands the immediate end to the declaration of a national emergency concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.

"To our elected officials that believe they rule us: YOU work for US. Our constitution was written to provide enough power to act on a national level, but not enough to deprive the people of fundamental rights," the website states. "The people are prepared to see this challenge through — as we have seen through all challenges to our Freedom in the past. And we will prevail and prosper."

Washington's Metropolitan Police Department said it is aware of the upcoming protests and intends to deploy 500 civil disturbance units from Feb. 23 to March 1 in anticipation of the demonstrations, WTTG reported.

"There will be disruptions to traffic, that kind of thing," Police Chief Robert Contee said Friday. "I think we need to be very candid with the public about some of the expectations based upon what we've seen in Ottawa."

Canada's "Freedom Convoy" protests converged in downtown Ottawa on Jan. 28 and remained in the capital city for three weeks demanding an end to the government's requirements that truckers crossing the U.S. border be fully vaccinated. Other protesters formed blockades at various border crossings between the U.S. and Canada, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared were illegal.

Police acted to disperse the last of the blockades last week. The remaining protesters in Ottawa were cleared out by police forces over the weekend after Trudeau invoked emergency powers to give police greater authority to issue fines and make arrests. Financial institutions were also given permission by the Canadian government to freeze protesters' accounts without a court order.

According to the Ottawa Citizen, a total of 191 protesters were arrested and 57 vehicles were towed since police took action on Friday.

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