A Truck Caravan With Far-Right Links Heads to Washington, D.C. (2023)

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Many backers of the caravan, planned as an American version of the past month’s chaotic Canadian protest, have connections to the violent attack on the Capitol in January 2021.

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A Truck Caravan With Far-Right Links Heads to Washington, D.C. (1)

By Shawn Hubler and Alan Feuer

(Video) Trucker convoy arrival in DC: New details | LiveNOW from FOX

ADELANTO, Calif. — Though it was billed as a grass-roots, nonpartisan event intended to oppose government Covid-19 mandates, a trucker demonstration that left California for Washington, D.C., on Wednesday appeared to be tightly aligned with far-right organizations and activists.

Many of those behind the demonstration, which was planned as an American version of the past month’s chaotic Canadian protest, have connections to the violent attack on the Capitol in January 2021, or supported the lie that fraud in the 2020 presidential election was to blame for Donald J. Trump’s loss.

“We’re just trying to show what the people who back us believe — and our own beliefs — of what our country needs to go back to,” said Jeff Sandberg, a Republican truck driver from Texas whose vehicle was hauling a massive banner covered in slogans such as “We Will Not Comply!!” and “Let’s Go Brandon,” a meme created to insult President Biden.

Brian Brase, a convoy spokesman and Ohio-based truck driver, said the motorcade was expected to grow as the trucks wended across the country. “We believe tens of thousands will join in,” he said.

About 40 truckers were on hand with their rigs as the convoy rolled out on Wednesday in Adelanto, Calif., about 180 miles west of the Arizona state line. A flag-strewn send-off rally that resembled a Make America Great Again event drew about a hundred more vehicles.

At truck stops in the surrounding area, most local drivers seemed only dimly aware of the California convoy or too busy to take part. Unlike in Ottawa, where a recent weekslong protest shut down parts of Canada’s capital, the activity near Barstow, Calif., on Wednesday seemed highly staged, with memorabilia stands and food trucks.

The group behind the convoy — one of several in the United States expected to launch over the next few days — is demanding an end to the national emergency, meant to streamline the government response to the pandemic, that was first declared by Mr. Trump in March 2020 and recently extended by Mr. Biden. The protesters also want congressional hearings into the origin of the pandemic and an end to government health rules requiring masks and vaccinations, a move that has already begun as new cases have ebbed.

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(Video) USA: 'People's Convoy' trucker caravan heads towards capital from California | FreedomConvoy Canada

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Mr. Brase, a former public affairs director for an advocacy group that pushed during the Trump administration to relax limits on driving time for commercial truckers, said that the cross-country protest would be peaceful. A statement by the group said the demonstration would end near the nation’s capital, but that the convoy would not enter Washington.

Law enforcement authorities warned against disruption of the sort that roiled Canada for several weeks.

“Attempting to block or shut down a freeway or state highway to protest is unlawful, dangerous and prevents motorists from safely reaching their destinations,” the California Highway Patrol said in a statement. “If necessary, the C.H.P. will take enforcement action that includes, but is not limited to, issuing citations, impounding vehicles, arresting individuals who intentionally block traffic on the state’s transportation system or pose a threat to public safety.”

In Washington, officials from the U.S. Capitol Police said they would facilitate the demonstration as a “lawful First Amendment activity,” but also had set some security measures in motion. The Defense Department authorized deployment of about 700 unarmed National Guard personnel from the District of Columbia and neighboring states to help manage traffic, and Capitol Police said that plans were being drawn up to reinstall the temporary fence that was erected around the Capitol after last year’s Jan. 6 riot.

An American trucker protest has been discussed for at least a month on social media and right-wing news outlets, inspired by the one that crossed Canada, demanding an end to a mandate requiring truckers crossing the U.S.-Canada border to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

(Video) How Truck Driving Became One Of The Worst Jobs In The US

American truckers have no such mandate, and as a towering surge in new cases has rapidly ebbed, most states — including California — have eased restrictions. But Mr. Brase said his group felt compelled to express solidarity with health care workers, public employees and others for whom vaccination has become a requirement.

Last week, a conservative political action committee that has focused in the past on defending Representative Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican and ally of Mr. Trump who is being investigated by the Justice Department, issued a call for participation in an American convoy that would start in Ohio and California and reach Washington on March 6.

Darrel Courtney, the chief executive of the Adelanto Stadium and Event Center, said he received a call last Tuesday from Leigh Dundas, an Orange County lawyer and Republican activist, who wanted to rent the parking lot. Ms. Dundas, a lawyer for an anti-vaccine group whose leader was charged with entering the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, was videotaped the day before the riot rallying pro-Trump crowds with calls to kill any “alleged Americans” who might have helped undermine the 2020 elections.

Two hours northeast of Los Angeles, Adelanto is known chiefly for its prisons. Gabriel Reyes, the city’s part-time mayor — a Republican who operates a small currency trading and marketing business — said the city-owned stadium, which once hosted minor league baseball, was little used except for an annual cannabis festival, “Kushstock.”

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“I didn’t see us making beaucoup bucks off of this,” he said, “but if they all want to fill up at our Arco station and we get that California tax, then hey, we’re going to say, ‘Thank you!’”

On Wednesday, the mayor’s wife sang the national anthem for the truckers before they departed for their next stop, Kingman, Ariz. Speakers at the rally included Dr. Pierre Kory, a vocal advocate of the discouraged use of the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin as a Covid-19 treatment, and Rob McCoy, a Republican politician and Southern California evangelical pastor who has gained prominence flouting pandemic rules and calling the state’s governor, Gavin Newsom, “Governor Newssolini.”

Ms. Dundas, who was the event’s M.C., said, “It’s been two years, and it is time to open this darn economy with no more restrictions on it.”

(Video) Watch NBC News NOW Live - October 1

A list of organizations supporting the convoy included those led by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a leader in the anti-vaccine movement, and Gen. Michael Flynn, the former Trump administration national security adviser.

That latter group, the America Project, has combined its attempts to challenge Covid-19 policies with the relentless promotion of pro-Trump election conspiracy theories. The group is run by Patrick Byrne, the former chief executive of Overstock.com, who, with General Flynn, was central in a bizarre plot to persuade the former president to use the military to seize voting machines in a bid to stay in power.

Yet another group, the American Foundation for Civil Liberties and Freedom, which is raising money for the truckers, hosted an event in Los Angeles last summer at which participants promoted baseless claims that there were widespread irregularities in the presidential voting results in Michigan.

Outside Adelanto, Mario Acevedo, who had stopped to wash the tires of his big rig on the way to Nevada, said he did not “have that time or luxury, unfortunately,” to skip work for the convoy.

“I got to provide for my family,” he said.

Shawn Hubler reported from Adelanto, Calif., and Alan Feuer from Albany, N.Y. Eric Schmitt contributed reporting from Washington.

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FAQs

How many trucks are in the convoy to DC? ›

23 in Adelanto, Calif., outside Los Angeles. Organizers and convoy members talked about Monday's convoy journey to D.C. as a “win,” saying it included 258 cars, 68 motor homes and 95 trucks.

What is the purpose of the Truckers convoy to DC? ›

Those behind these convoys say they are protesting COVID-19-related mandates, especially vaccine mandates.

What is the convoy to DC? ›

The People's Convoy, an activist organization started by truckers during the height of the COVID-19 omicron variant surge protesting the series of mask and vaccine mandates enacted to ensure public health, have been pushing for an end to the federal emergency declaration related to the pandemic that they say infringes ...

What happened to the people's convoy? ›

After declaring victory on May 20 at a dirt-track speedway in Hagerstown, Maryland — sources say the dwindling convoy, down to 15 tractor-trailers and around 40 passenger vehicles and RVs in the final days, imploded very publicly on social media once remaining organizers declared the “mission of freedom” was over.

Are convoys illegal in USA? ›

Most Convoys are Law-Abiding

The police respect the rights of citizens to express their opinions in the form of a convoy as long as they are not designed to block or impede traffic, speed, or violate any other laws.

How long is the trucker convoy in DC? ›

The trucker group calling itself the “People's Convoy,” which protested vaccine mandates and aired other right-wing grievances by driving around the D.C. region for more than three weeks, left its temporary base in Western Maryland on Thursday morning to head across the country to challenge proposed coronavirus vaccine ...

What is the bikers convoy about? ›

It started as a demonstration against vaccination mandates, but soon turned into an antigovernment protest, with participants calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The convoy protest, which Ottawa Police called an “occupation,” ended after the federal government invoked the Emergencies Act.

What highway is the trucker convoy on? ›

Truckers and supporters, calling themselves the People's Convoy, travel along Highway 395 on Wednesday.

What truck did the rubber duck drive in convoy? ›

The duck on the hood of Rubber Duck's Mack truck was later used in Death Proof (2007), as the hood ornament on Stuntman Mike's hotrod.

Is the People's convoy still in Washington DC? ›

The People's Convoy left D.C., but these folks are still here - The Washington Post.

How fast do military convoys travel? ›

The maximum speed authorized for military vehicles on expressways is 50 mph. Military vehicles moving on controlled access highways should maintain the posted minimum speed or 40 mph if a minimum speed is not posted.

Do military convoys have right of way? ›

To Military Convoys

The first vehicle in the military convoy will stop for the red traffic signal and wait for the green signal to show. Once the first vehicle has the green traffic signal, they will proceed through with the other vehicles following.

Who owns convoy freight? ›

The Road Ahead: 6 Ways Technology Will Enable the Future of Freight. Convoy CEO Dan Lewis on his vision for the future of the trucking industry and the implications it has on global supply chains, millions of truck drivers and our planet.

Who is trucker G? ›

Gerald Johnson, better known as Trucker G, has been in the trucking industry for over 30 years and has a large online following from sharing tips on how to succeed in the industry. Johnson and his wife Maryann planted their roots in Niangua, but spend much of their time on the road.

Did Kris Kristofferson drive the truck in convoy? ›

In Convoy: A 1977 Mack RS786LST Truck

Who knows!) This time, Kristofferson drives not a car, but a tremendous 1977 Mack RS786LST truck riding on an impressive 220-inch wheelbase, complete with a behemoth turbocharged, 283hp, inline 6-cylinder diesel engine.

Can US truckers carry guns? ›

The federal law allows all drivers, including truckers to carry firearms but forces them to keep the firearm locked away and unloaded.

Can you drive in the middle of a convoy? ›

Let's first tackle the law. “There's nothing illegal about going in between (the military vehicles),” said Duane Graham, an officer and spokesman for the California Highway Patrol based in Westminster.

How many cars are in the convoy of the US President? ›

The motorcade that the President travels with, has over 100 personnel and over 50 vehicles. It is regarded as the most expensive motorcade in the world with a 1-hour ride costing around $150,000.

Where do long distance truckers sleep? ›

If you look at a truck that transports goods over the road (OTR), you will notice that there is a small room or compartment just behind the driver's seat. This is the sleeper cab where the driver rests. The truck driver sleeper cab is well-equipped with all the necessities for a comfortable sleep.

How long do truckers stay awake? ›

Drivers are often required to work 10-12 hour shifts in order to make their deliveries on time. Many trucking companies have a mandatory rule that their drivers get at least 10 hours of sleep between shifts. Aside from getting proper rest, there are a couple of tricks drivers can use to stay alert and safe on the road.

Are big rigs allowed in DC? ›

Oversized / Overweight Vehicle Permits

The District of Columbia has size and weight restrictions for vehicles traveling on roadways within its boundaries; any vehicles larger than the dimensions and weights listed below will require an Oversized/ Overweight permit to operate within the District.

What is the Rolling Thunder? ›

Rolling Thunder is a United States advocacy group that seeks to bring full accountability for prisoners of war (POWs) and missing in action (MIA) service members of all U.S. wars. The group's first demonstration was in 1988.

Why are Hells Angels in Toronto? ›

Hundreds of Hells Angels descend upon Toronto for memorial procession. Hundreds of Hells Angels rode through Toronto Thursday in a memorial ride for late Toronto chapter president Donny Petersen. Petersen died in December at the age of 74.

What is Rolling Thunder biker convoy? ›

"Rolling Thunder" lists Veterans for Freedom and Freedom Fighters Canada as its partners, both of which appear to have links to the trucker convoy protests seen earlier this year.

What does it mean when truckers say 10 4? ›

10-4 is a way of saying “message received” in radio communications. It's also used as a way to “you got it.”

Why do truckers say breaker 19? ›

"Breaker 1/9" is originally a Citizens' Band radio slang term telling other CB users that you'd like to start a transmission on channel 19, and is the phrase that starts C. W. McCall's 1975 novelty hit "Convoy".

Why do truckers use channel 19? ›

Most truckers use the unofficial channel 19 (27.185 MHz) to communicate. This channel offers highway traffic information from truckers and other drivers. You'll find a lot of aimless chatter along with the useful information on channel 19.

Why did truckers chew on toothpicks? ›

Truck drivers – who are among the drugs most popular users – often soak their toothpicks in liquid methamphetamine, which gives them a mild dose as they chew on it while driving down the road.

What is the last car in a convoy called? ›

The maintenance vehicle carrying the mechanics has to be the last vehicle in the convoy and special instructions must be provided on recovery repair procedures.

What did truck drivers take to stay awake? ›

One of the most common medications truckers take is amphetamines. These types of drugs usually cause someone to become stimulated, excited, or even euphoric. While some amphetamines can be prescribed legally (such as Adderall and Ritalin) it doesn't necessarily mean those who take those drugs are using them legally.

What is the life expectancy in Washington DC? ›

District residents tend to be less healthy than the average American. Life expectancy is 76.3 years; slightly lower than the national life expectancy of 78.9 years. The infant mortality rate is 8.6 per 1,000 live births, higher than the national rate of 5.9 per 1,000 live births.

Is the convoy still in Hagerstown? ›

The People's Convoy plans to leave Hagerstown Speedway to protest bills in California. The People's Convoy encamped at Hagerstown Speedway for most of March is leaving to return to California, at least temporarily, organizer Mike Landis announced Sunday night.

How many Russian troops are in the 40 mile convoy? ›

On 2 March, the convoy was estimated to have held up to 15,000 troops. The formation itself was made up of a variety of military vehicles, which satellite footage shows vehicles parked three abreast across wider sections of the road. The convoy has been noted for its size, stretching about 65 kilometres (40 mi).

Can you pass an army convoy? ›

"When passing a convoy, be sure that you are in the legal passing lane to pass and ensure that you have enough room to get in between the vehicles," said Larry Wolterman, Directorate of Logistics Deployment Support branch supervisor. "They're spaced far enough so you can pass one and maybe two at a time."

Can police pull over military convoy? ›

Depends on what the cargo is. If it's nuclear weapons or critical components thereof—then of course not. If it's in support of presidential movement—again of course not. But in these cases the military if forced to work with local authorities and actually have them a part of the escort team.

Why is the 40 mile convoy stalled? ›

U.S. officials attribute the apparent stall in part to logistical failures on the Russian side, including food and fuel shortages, that have slowed Moscow's advance through various parts of the country.

How far is the 40 mile convoy? ›

A 40-mile-long (64km) Russian military convoy, composed of tanks, armored vehicles and towed artillery, has sparked dread among defending Ukrainians as it lumbered towards their capital, Kyiv.

What is it called when you see military on the highway? ›

A convoy is a group of vehicles, typically motor vehicles or ships, traveling together for mutual support and protection. Often, a convoy is organized with armed defensive support and can help maintain cohesion within a unit. It may also be used in a non-military sense, for example when driving through remote areas.

Who is the biggest freight broker? ›

C.H. Robinson Worldwide

Who is the largest freight company in the United States? ›

Biggest Trucking Companies in the US
  1. UPS Inc. Founded: 1907. Revenue: 97.3 billion USD (2021) ...
  2. FedEx Corp. Founded: 1971. ...
  3. XPO Logistics. Founded: 1989. ...
  4. J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. ...
  5. Knight-Swift Transport Services. Founded: 1990. ...
  6. YRC Worldwide. Founded: 1929. ...
  7. Schneider. Founded: 1976. ...
  8. Landstar Systems. Founded: 1968.

How does convoy get paid? ›

All payments from Convoy are sent via direct deposit, free of charge!

What does OG mean in trucking? ›

Ouf of Gauge (OOG) cargo means loads that cannot be shipped in a standard six wall transport container. This term loosely classifies all kinds of freight, which dimensions exceed maximum dimensions of a 40' HC container. It means that the length of cargo exceeds 12.05m, its width 2.33m, and its height 2.59m.

Who is the richest trucker? ›

Tom Love and his wife Judy ranked No. 209 on Forbes new list of the world's billionaires, which makes them the richest couple in trucking. With holdings estimated at over $7 billion, the founders of Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores lead the trucking industry in personal wealth.

What does lizard mean for truckers? ›

The term “lot lizards” refers to prostituted people who work in truck stops and rest areas. Truck stop prostitution occurs most commonly at night but can also happen during the day. Prostituted men and women are often victims of sex crimes.

Why was Lyle laughing at the end of convoy? ›

Then the truckers who are at the funeral all drive away and Dirty Lyle laughs because he sees Rubber Duck is alive, even though he's literally the guy who spent all of his time trying to kill him.

Who was the black guy in convoy? ›

In another departure from the script, Peckinpah attempted to add a new dimension to the film by casting a pair of black actors as members of the convoy: Madge Sinclair as Widow Woman and Franklyn Ajaye as Spider Mike.

What is the World's Largest truck convoy? ›

The Truck Convoy® is a unique one-day celebration of the trucking industry and its support of Special Olympics. Local law enforcement makes special dispensation and escorts a convoy of trucks up to SO miles through their town.

How many trucks were used in the movie convoy? ›

The main character in Convoy is Martin “Rubber Duck” Penwald who is the driver of the famous truck. However, most people don't realize that there were actually four different trucks used throughout the movie, although there is one that was used for most of the promotional photos which was the 1977 Mack RS-712LST.

How many ships are in a convoy? ›

A convoy with escorting battleship

Convoys were formed into several columns of ships, with up to five ships in each column, forming a big box of up to 60 ships.

Where is the truckers convoy headed for DC? ›

Trucker convoy leaving DC, heading to California after nearly a month of protests. WASHINGTON (WJLA) — After 37 days of a nearly month-long protest against COVID-19 mask and vaccine mandates, dozens of truckers are leaving areas near the nation's capital and heading to California Thursday morning.

How many soldiers are in a convoy? ›

A convoy may be as small as a six-vehicle march unit or as large as a 300-vehicle column. A convoy commander can better control a convoy if it is broken into smaller, more manageable groups. Whenever possible, convoys are grouped along organizational lines, such as platoon, company, and battalion.

How many Russian convoys are there? ›

Composition and size. On 2 March, the convoy was estimated to have held up to 15,000 troops. The formation itself was made up of a variety of military vehicles, which satellite footage shows vehicles parked three abreast across wider sections of the road.

How many bananas can a ship carry? ›

Most container ships can carry containers of mixed heights and types. The humble 20 ft (TEU) container weighs about 2 tonnes when empty. A standard container can hold about 24,900 tin cans or about 48,000 bananas.

How many ships were sunk on the Arctic convoys? ›

The convoys suffered a heavy setback in July 1942 when they suffered a week of heavy attacks by the Germans. Convoy codenamed PQ17 was almost completely destroyed - 24 of the 35 merchant vessels were sunk with the loss of 153 mariners.

What is the World's Largest Truck convoy? ›

The Truck Convoy® is a unique one-day celebration of the trucking industry and its support of Special Olympics. Local law enforcement makes special dispensation and escorts a convoy of trucks up to SO miles through their town.

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