Truck Convoy Drives on Capital Beltway in Protest

Truck convoy organizers plan to circle the Beltway twice on Sunday

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Members of a truck convoy are moving through the suburbs of Washington, D.C., Sunday, and few traffic disruptions were reported as a long line of cars and semitrucks made their way around the Beltway's Outer Loop in protest of COVID-19 mandates.

Chopper4 spotted congestion on the Beltway, but no unusually significant delays were reported by 3 p.m.

The group plans to circle the Beltway again on Monday, March 7, but did not provide a schedule.

Onlookers with flags and signs stood on overpasses watching demonstrators rolling by on the Beltway Sunday. There was a noticeable presence of Maryland and Virginia law enforcement officers.

A trucker convoy spotted in Hagerstown, Maryland, is expected to make its way to the Capital Beltway in protest of COVID-19 mandates as soon as Sunday.

Organizers say the People's Convoy group planned to circle the Capital Beltway twice — about a 130-mile trip — then return to Hagerstown, where the group began gathering Friday.

D.C.’s Homeland Security Director Chris Rodriguez said commuters should be aware of “transportation impacts over the next several days” and this weekend due to the potential of additional trucker protests.

He also said residents in the District and its suburbs should “allow extra time in your commutes both to and from work” for the first part of this week.

WTOP News in D.C. reported that it took the length of the main convoy about 35 minutes to drive past a spot near Clarksburg Premium Outlets and many police officers were spotted nearby.

Maryland State Police said troopers are deployed to address any violations of law.

"Law enforcement personnel are working to maintain the flow of traffic and alleviate congestion" as the convoy travels around the region, Maryland State Police said.

D.C. officials said the convoy is expected to cause some traffic delays and that the Metropolitan Police Department may close roads to minimize impact.

"Beltway here we come," the group said in a Facebook post on Sunday morning. A long line of vehicles departed from the Hagerstown Speedway, then drove to the D.C. area via Interstates including 81 and 270.

News4's Aimee Cho reports as the D.C. area braces to see what happens next.

Virginia State Police said officers are prepared for potential convoys in the Capital region and will try to mitigate impacts on traffic. The Maryland State Highway Administration warned drivers about congestion.

The People's Convoy group "has been working with local and state law enforcement to find the best time to travel," spokesperson Lynne Kristensen said.

The D.C. area is the last publicized stop for the People’s Convoy, which drove across the country to protest against COVID-19-related mandates.

“I mean, this is talking about the future of America,” one protester said. “What wouldn’t you do to save that?”

The convoy picked up hundreds of cars and several trucks since the group left a rural parking lot in Adelanto, California, on Feb. 22, NBC News reported.

A long line of trucks prepares to make its way into the D.C. region to protest mask and vaccine mandates. News4's Shomari Stone shows what's coming Saturday.

The group staged in Hagerstown on Friday evening. On Saturday morning, Chopper4 filmed a long line of 18-wheelers and other vehicles surrounded by supporters on foot outside the Hagerstown Speedway. Two cranes hoisted a large American flag as several semitrucks drove underneath. Plans to leave Hagerstown on Saturday were delayed.

Photos show people carrying American flags, plus signs or flags in support of former President Donald Trump or with anti-President Joe Biden slogans outside the Hagerstown Speedway.

Fireworks popped in the sky and numerous people gathered to hold up a giant America flag on Saturday night, the images show.

Organizers previously said they do not plan on shutting down the Beltway or other roads.

Modeled after recent trucker protests in Canada, multiple protest groups have planned to come to the District in recent weeks. So far, there have been no significant disruptions to traffic.

Federal and local law enforcement have repeatedly said they are aware truck convoys plan to visit the area, and those agencies are prepared.

Around 700 National Guard troops, about 400 from D.C. and up to 300 from outside the District, were made available to "provide support at designated traffic posts, provide command and control, and cover sustainment requirements," the defense department said.

Rodriguez confirmed that the District requested and has been granted an extension on the deployment of National Guard personnel through Wednesday, March 9. The original request was set to terminate Monday.  

Stay with News4 for more on this developing story.

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