Equipped and refreshed after spending several weeks on vacation or with family, the people’s convoy is reuniting and coming back after a month of highway protests that fell flat.
BUTTE, Mont. — The message has always been the same: we want our freedoms back. What exactly that means for the People’s Convoy of Truck Drivers that has now crossed the country from east to west and back east again remains less clear. But what is clear is that their protest will return to the DMV later this month.
The People’s Convoy, an activist organization founded by truck drivers during the height of the wave of COVID-19 omicron variants protesting the series of mask and vaccine mandates issued to ensure public health, have pushed for an end to federal emergency declaration regarding the pandemic that they believe infringes on their fundamental rights.
“We are not heroes, but we are tired of Americans,” a speaker said at a rally in Olympia on Sunday. “If we don’t rise, our country is doomed.”
The group left Washington state, stopping in Portland, Oregon, Salt Lake City, Utah and Boise, Idaho to pick up more spirited protesters in their large platforms.
RELATED: Truck Convoy Members Sue DC Government in Federal Court
On Friday, the convoy departed from an overnight stop in Butte, Montana, and planned weekend stops in Wyoming, Nebraska, and a rally in Des Moines, Iowa on May 11. At that rate, it could take two weeks for protesters to enter the RDW.
The protests began in February 2022 with a California journey across the US ending in the country’s capital, following protests by Canadian truck drivers who shut down their country’s government for about a month over vaccine mandates. The People’s Convoy set up camp at Hagerstown Speedway, where they would make daily trips around DC’s beltway, causing road closures and traffic delays.
However, leadership setbacks, confusion over logistics and infighting over the best protest strategy dampened coverage and enthusiasm. The leaders and most popular streamers went home to spend time with families and on “much-needed vacations” away from business.
RELATED: What’s in a Convoy: How a Lack of Coherent Leadership Is Causing Fractures and Factions in the Big Truck Protest
The convoy left the DMV and returned to the West Coast, focusing on fundraising and a state-owned organizational effort to get Americans to join the cause. Now, after a few weeks in the Pacific Northwest, the group has grown and headed back to DC
But the controversial organization has not been without its dissidents. Not until Thursday, the official Facebook page showed heated messages and comments about what the convoy’s mission should be about.
“How on earth do you keep fighting for the stupidest things?” posted a woman claiming to be the wife of a truck driver who had originally supported the convoy’s efforts. “My god, the whole industry is on its knees for so many reasons and yall [sic] do you want to talk about masks!!!???”
The group is also suing the DC and MPD governments over the traffic blocks that prevented protests from reaching downtown DC, which police cited as a security measure. Incidents over the past week involving convoy participants and counter-protesters firing at each other with weapons have also tarnished the story of a peaceful protest.
According to WUSA9’s sister station in Portland (KGW), officers responded to a report of people “throwing objects” from the Northeast Glisan Street overpass over I-205, along with a report of shots fired.
“Portland Police were monitoring a protest convoy passing through Portland and counter-protesters confronting them,” PPB said in a statement. “Agents determined that the shot fired was likely related.”
The officers found traces of at least one shot, but did not find anyone who had been hit. PPB said a group of about 15 people “screamed and harassed officers” during the investigation. No arrests were made.
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