After witnessing the Freedom Convoy in Canada being violently crushed by the Trudeau government, an organizer for an American truckers’ convoy said they have taken every precaution to avoid similar treatment from the Biden administration.
“We’ve taken every precaution that we could. I don’t know what the government is going to do,” Maureen Steele, one of the main organizers of “The People’s Convoy,” told NTD’s “Capitol Report” in a Feb. 22 interview.
“We have been operating with local municipalities and police along our route, engaging with them ahead of time,” Steele said. “We also have lawyers on board that are helping us to make sure that we’re within the laws [as] we’re rolling through, entering small towns … to make sure that we’re welcome there.”
The convoy is set to begin from the Adelanto Stadium in Southern California on Feb. 23 and head east on Interstate 40. It is expected to arrive in the Washington D.C. area on Mar. 5.
Another convoy that is starting from Pennsylvania on Feb. 23 is expected to arrive at the Washington area in the afternoon that day.
“Anticipating what happened in Canada, I don’t know what our government is going to do here. It appears that it’s simply as tyrannical as Trudeau up there,” Steele said.
Steele added that they’re trying to marshal on private property instead of public property or city-owned property, “I think that is one of the issues that they have up in Canada.”
On Feb. 10, a White House official said the Biden administration had urged Canada’s government to use its federal powers to respond to the protests blocking access points along the countries’ mutual border.
On Feb. 14, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act to disperse the protests in Ottawa and elsewhere against COVID-19 mandates and restrictions. Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland announced a number of measures to freeze the bank accounts of entities involved in the protests.
On Feb. 15, responding to a question on trucker protests in the United States, especially in the Washington area, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the Department of Homeland Security had been assessing security impacts of the convoy.
In a statement released on Feb. 21 (pdf), the trucker’s convoy said they would end in the Washington area but “will NOT be going into D.C. proper.”
Bob Bolus, an organizer of the convoy from Pennsylvania, told The Epoch Times that the reason is concerns over the treatment of people who were there at the U.S. Capitol during the “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6, 2021.
“As far as our money goes, we tried to learn a little bit from what happened up there. We have lawyers and accountants, and our money’s being held in a third-party entity. Money’s being swept out of the bank accounts very swiftly and put into private banks so that our money can’t be frozen,” Steele said.
“We have the right to gather. We have the right to protest. We have freedom of speech in this country, even though it’s being suppressed. And this is one of the reasons we’re doing it. So we’ll see what happens.”
Steele stressed the convoy is for everybody, not only for truckers.
“This is the people’s convoy. This isn’t the trucker’s convoy. This has been spearheaded by the American trucker,” Steele said.
“We have moms. We have students. We have fathers. We have immigrants. We have Polish. We have Sikhs. We have Native Americans, blacks … every walk of life is being represented in this convoy because it’s a slice of Americana. And that’s what America is, we’re a great melting pot.
“We want the state of emergency lifted. We want our Constitution to reign supreme, and we want accountability. And we want our economy back,” Steele said.
On Feb. 18, President Joe Biden announced that he would extend the state of national emergency beyond March 1.
On the same day, the U.S. Capitol Police said that law enforcement agencies in the nation’s capital are planning “extra security” ahead of Biden’s first State of the Union Address scheduled for March 1, citing potential plans of truck-convoy protesters to arrive at roughly the same time.
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 had issued a request for assistance. The request is awaiting approval by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
On Feb. 22, Defense Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters that Pentagon is considering such a move but “no decisions have been made yet.”
Mimi Nguyen Ly and Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.