US Capitol Police Plan ‘Extra Security’ Ahead of SOTU, Cite Potential Arrival of Truck Convoys

By Mimi Nguyen Ly
Mimi Nguyen Ly
Mimi Nguyen Ly
Mimi Nguyen Ly is a reporter based in Australia. She covers world news with a focus on U.S. news. Contact her at mimi.nl@epochtimes.com
February 20, 2022 Updated: February 20, 2022

The U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) say that law enforcement agencies in the nation’s capital are planning “extra security” ahead of President Joe Biden’s first State of the Union (SOTU) Address scheduled for March 1, citing potential plans of truck-convoy protesters to arrive at roughly the same time.

“Law enforcement agencies across the National Capital Region are aware of plans for a series of truck convoys arriving in Washington, D.C., around the time of the State of the Union,” USCP said in a Feb. 18 statement. “As with any demonstration, the USCP will facilitate lawful First Amendment activity.

“The USCP is closely coordinating with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, including D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department, the United States Park Police, the United States Secret Service, and other allied agencies to include the D.C. National Guard.”

A joint session of Congress is required to be held when Biden delivers his SOTU address.

The USCP noted that it has been working closely together with the U.S. Secret Service “to plan for the upcoming State of the Union.”

The Epoch Times previously reported on Feb. 17 that a trucker convoy, which goes by the name “The People’s Convoy,” is set to head to Washington to protest against the federal government’s emergency powers that have been declared since March 2020. Truckers have been protesting in Canada for weeks against coronavirus restrictions and vaccine mandates and caused a temporary blockade of the busy Ambassador Bridge border crossing between Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit.

Biden said on Feb. 18 that he’ll extend the emergency powers beyond March 1.

While announcing the extra security measures, the USCP said it has yet to decide on whether to reinstall a fence around the U.S. Capitol in the lead-up to Biden’s speech.

“The temporary inner-perimeter fence is part of those ongoing discussions and remains an option, however at this time, no decision has been made,” USCP said in a Feb. 18 update to its initial statement.

The additional statement was issued “to address numerous inquiries we have received this evening,” according to USCP.

Army Maj. Aaron Thacker, a National Guard Bureau spokesman, told Breitbart News on Feb. 19 that the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia (MPD) had issued a request for assistance, and the request is awaiting approval by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

“We have a request from the D.C. Metro Police for support, and that support is contingent on approval from the secretary of defense, so we’re waiting on that. We’re waiting for approval from the secretary of defense,” Thacker said.

The MPD told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement that the department “is aware of potential First Amendment activities that may take place in the National Capital Region, including Washington, D.C.”

“At this time, a permit application has not been submitted to MPD,” the email reads. “As with all First Amendment demonstrations, MPD will be monitoring, assessing, and planning accordingly with our local, state, and federal partners. We have increased available resources, including the activation of our Civil Disturbance Units, in preparation for these activities.”

The District of Columbia National Guard didn’t respond to a request for comment by press time.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) confirmed to The Epoch Times that it was tracking potential truck convoys in the United States.

“We have not observed specific calls for violence within the United States associated with this convoy and are working closely with our federal, state, and local partners to continuously assess the threat environment and keep our communities safe,” an agency spokesperson told The Epoch Times.

“DHS will continue to share timely and actionable information with the public. Over the past year, DHS has increased timely and actionable intelligence and information sharing and strengthened operational coordination with partners across every level of government and the private sector.”

Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.

Mimi Nguyen Ly is a reporter based in Australia. She covers world news with a focus on U.S. news. Contact her at mimi.nl@epochtimes.com