National Guard Troops Requested to Help During Possible Trucker Protests
One convoy organizer said they plan to shut down the Capital Beltway.
The Capitol Police and the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency have asked the Defense Department for National Guard troops to help local agencies during trucker convoys that threaten to disrupt traffic in the Washington, D.C., region in the coming days.
“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 DC government address potential challenges stemming from possible disruptions at key traffic arteries,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement Tuesday. “No decisions have been made yet to approve these requests.”
Several groups are planning to send truckers to D.C. to protest pandemic restrictions, similar to the recent convoys in Canada, DCist reported. Before being removed Saturday, truckers in Ottawa had blocked an area of the city for weeks. Another trucker protest in Ontario blocked the Ambassador Bridge, a major international link between Canada and Detroit, Michigan.
One trucker who is organizing a convoy from Pennsylvania this week said trucks plan to block traffic on the Capital Beltway, a major highway that circles the nation’s capital.
"We're not coming there just to starve them," Bob Bolus said to WUSA9 about the convoy. "We're going to choke you like a boa constrictor and you'll have nothing."
Other truck convoys are planning to arrive in D.C. around President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on March 1, DCist reported.
In 2021, the Pentagon approved requests for National Guard troops to protect the Capitol Building leading up to and then after the presidential inauguration following the Jan. 6 riot. More than 25,000 troops were sent to D.C. at a cost of $520.9 million, which Congress eventually reimbursed.
The deployment of National Guard members has increased in the past few years as local governments continue to ask for assistance responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters, and civil unrest. June 2020 saw the highest number of Guardsmen deployed at any time since World War II, officials told reporters last year.