D.C. Officials Request National Guard Troops ahead of Expected U.S. ‘Freedom Convoy’
Police in Washington, D.C., have requested assistance from the U.S. National Guard in preparation for a potential protest convoy in the district similar to the Canadian “Freedom Convoy,” a Pentagon spokesperson said Tuesday.
Spokesman John Kirby said the Department of Defense is considering the request from the U.S. Capitol Police and the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency.
“Those agencies have asked for National Guard personnel to provide support at traffic control points in and around the District to help the USCP and D.C. government address potential challenges stemming from possible disruptions at key traffic arteries,” he said. “No decisions have been made yet to approve these requests.”
The request comes as an American group inspired by the Canadian “Freedom Convoy” is expected to descend on Washington, D.C., in the coming weeks to protest Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.
The “People’s Convoy” is set to begin its eleven-day trip from Victorville, Calif., to Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Several other groups are planning similar demonstrations, according to the Washington Examiner.
Truckers have requested a National Park Service permit to allow a gathering of 1,000 to 3,000 in Washington, D.C., a source told Fox News. The report said National Guard troops will deploy beginning Tuesday and remain in place until the end of next month.
Law enforcement has been unable to hire the necessary number of tow trucks to clear the expected number of tractor-trailers, a government source reportedly told Fox News. The National Guard plans to create strategic road blocks throughout the district to compensate.
Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee said Friday that officials expect there will be “disruptions to traffic, that kind of thing.”
“I think we need to be very candid with the public about some of the expectations based upon what we’ve seen in Ottawa,” he said.
The preparation comes as Canadian police broke up the “Freedom Convoy” protest that shut down Ottawa during a three-week-long standoff. Police arrested 191 people, filed 389 charges and towed 99 vehicles, authorities said Sunday.
As officials in Washington, D.C., prepare to face a similar situation, leaders are reportedly discussing putting up “temporary inner-perimeter fence,” the U.S. Capitol Police said last week, though no decision has been made.
Police have also started limiting time off for officers. Nearly 500 officers will be placed on civil disturbance units each day beginning Wednesday, FOX5 DC reported.