Conservative truck drivers in the United States have been attempting to emulate a movement of truck drivers in Canada who disrupted their nation’s capital for several weeks over COVID regulations – but they have had little success so far.
Far right individuals who are organizing the convoys are protesting COVID-19 masking and vaccine requirements that they say are too burdensome. Many organizers also appear to be motivated by a general antipathy toward the Biden administration.
But several journalists have reported that the convoy movement is disunited, and that its attempts to disrupt the D.C. area are lacking any real organization.
While the protest could still theoretically last for several weeks, just as it did in Canada, organizers of the U.S. movement are unclear on exactly when they’re going to be in Washington, D.C. Some are planning to arrive on the day President Joe Biden gives his State of the Union address, although several convoys aren’t planning to arrive until later; others have already tried to disrupt D.C. traffic on Wednesday, well before the speech is set to happen.
In Adelanto, California, hundreds of spectators gathered to see off a convoy of trucks that organizers said was on its way to the nation’s capital city. Around two dozen big rigs left the city, but most of those involved in the convoy have said that they don’t intend to stay with it all the way to D.C.; many say they’re planning to stop after crossing into Arizona.
Although organizers of that event claimed to be nonpartisan, the abundance of pro-Trump flags at the rally indicated that the participants overwhelmingly held far right beliefs.
A Scranton, Pennsylvania, event organized by trucker Bob Bolus barely saw any participation at its start. Bolus eventually managed to get around seven other people to join him on the trip — but the convoy he organized got lost on its way to Washington.
“I’m currently out in Washington, D.C. area traffic attempting to locate Scranton-based trucker Bob Bolus’ tiny convoy and there are three big problems: Bolus has no idea where he is going, is stuck in traffic, and has no idea where he is,” Daily Beast reporter Zachary Petrizzo noted.
By 7:30 pm Eastern Time, Bolus’s co-organizer admitted to Petrizzo, “You are not going to see a convoy,” adding that the event was “disappointing.”
— Jesse Rodriguez (@JesseRodriguez) February 23, 2022
A convoy event in Lansing, Michigan, was hardly a convoy at all. Instead of organizing a trip to D.C., participants sought to disrupt the state capital in order to get their demands met (mostly concerning how elections are run). But only 10 individuals even bothered to show up, according to the Detroit Metro Times.
While the convoy movement has had a lackluster start so far, the Biden administration is preparing for the possibility of a larger movement of truck drivers and their supporters coming to Washington, D.C., in March. The Pentagon has approved requests for 700 unarmed National Guard troops to help with traffic concerns in the city as they arise.
Just like in Canada, many organizers of the U.S. version of the convoy have extremist far right ties. One organizer of a Maryland convoy, for example, is a member of the Proud Boys, a white nationalist group that took part in the attack on the U.S. Capitol building in January 2021.