Washington, DC – Law enforcement in the nation’s capital was ready for thousands of protesters and hundreds of trucks that were allegedly planning to block city streets and the Capital Beltway ahead the State of the Union address on Tuesday night, but nobody came.
Multiple groups of truckers had announced they planned to converge on the city on March 1 to protest fuel prices, President Joe Biden’s immigration policies, and pandemic-related policies they said were crushing the U.S. economy.
Truckers in Canada recently shut down Ottawa over vaccine mandates.
The DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) immediately started mobilizing 500 officers into Civil Disturbance Units (CDU) to put in place ahead of the “Freedom Convoy’s” arrival, WTTG reported.
DC Police Chief Robert Contee limited days off for officers and federal contractors began reconstructing the giant fence around the entire U.S. Capitol complex that first appeared after the Capitol riot, WTTG reported.
“There will be disruptions to traffic, that kind of thing,” Chief Contee said. “I think we need to be very candid with the public about some of the expectations based upon what we’ve seen in Ottawa.”
The U.S. Secret Service said it had prepared for demonstration that might disrupt plans surrounding the President’s speech, The Washington Post reported.
Maryland State Police (MSP) and Virginia State Police (VSP) said they were also monitoring the situation and collaborating, as the Beltway lies entirely in their jurisdictions, WTTG reported.
Federal authorities also mobilized the National Guard and 50 large tactical units to assist with traffic control, The Washington Post reported.
But when rally by the Washington Monument that was scheduled to accompany the arrival of the truck convoys began on Tuesday, the only people in attendance were members of the media, The Washington Post reported.
Rally organizer and unaffiliated Maryland gubernatorial candidate Kyle Sefcik took the stage anyway and addressed his confused audience, videos of the scene showed.
The trucker protest by the Washington Monument is off to a slow and cold start. As of now, only 10 folks with the “Stage of Freedom” event are here. More press and police than rally-goers. pic.twitter.com/x85xEvzlNn
— Zachary Petrizzo (@ZTPetrizzo) March 1, 2022
And while the convoy a trucker from Pennsylvania had promised was going to shut down the Capital Beltway never materialized in any fashion, there is still a group called the “People’s Convoy” that is on its way to the nation’s capital from the West Coast, the Daily Mail reported.
Supporters have greeted the convoy along its 11-day route with signs and flags although authorities have discouraged it in multiple states.
Thousands of people lined the highways and bridges as The People's Convoy continues its journey to D.C. Some people drove hours just to see the convoy drive by. @news_ntd stopped at one of the bridges to find out more. pic.twitter.com/IeuWZegbla
— Jason Perry (@JasonPerryNTD) March 2, 2022
“A planned event designed to impede normal traffic flow is dangerous to the innocent motoring public,” Illinois State Police Division of Patrol Colonel Margaret McGreal told WGN. “Those who choose to participate in events that intentionally endanger the public and violate Illinois law will be subject to the enforcement of applicable laws and could potentially be held liable for traffic crashes occurring as a result of their actions.”
WATCH: Huge crowd in Oklahoma gathers to greet to the People’s Convoy. pic.twitter.com/JyCgxBSZYB
— Election Wizard 🇺🇸 (@ElectionWiz) February 28, 2022
One of the Texas truckers participating in the convoy ended up stuck after Penske shut down the rig he had rented from them remotely, the Wichita Falls Times Record News reported.
Texas Trucker Jeff Sandberg that was hauling a Let’s go Brandon & People’s Convoy sign heading to Washington DC with the Freedom Convoy truckers, until Penske remotely shut down his truck on the road & later released a statement how the company doesn’t support the freedom protest pic.twitter.com/OaDt4nOoDz
— Lisa Marie (@Lisamarie1577) February 26, 2022
Officials in the nation’s capital have indicated they intend to keep the fencing up around the U.S. Capitol complex and additional security measures in place until all current threats of arriving First Amendment protests have abated, The Washington Post reported.