Washington mobilizes the National Guard in preparation for a huge US ‘Freedom Convoy.’ House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is keeping an eye on reports of a massive trucking convoy heading to Washington, D.C., ahead of President Biden’s State of the Union address on March 1.
Following the dismantling of the so-called “Freedom Convoy” by police in Ottawa, Canada, Washington, D.C. is bracing for the possibility that thousands of truckers could descend on the US Capitol in the coming days.
The United States Capitol Police (USCP) are in charge of security around Congress. “We are closely monitoring the situation but have deferred to the USCP, which is in charge of security,” said Drew Hammill, a spokesperson for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
The United States Capitol Police said last week that they were “aware” of a Canada-style trucker protest coming to Washington and are planning to “facilitate” First Amendment protest activity while also working with law enforcement agencies and the D.C. National Guard to prepare for Biden’s major address.
“The United States Capitol Police and the United States Secret Service have been closely collaborating to preparation for the forthcoming State of the Union,” the United States Capitol Police said in a statement Friday.
“The temporary inner-perimeter barrier is part of those continuing talks and remains an option, but no decision has been taken at this time.” A government source informed Fox News on Tuesday that D.C. had sought National Guard assistance in preparation of the big convoy.
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The KNK Foundation filed a protest permit from the National Park Service to allow 1,000 to 3,000 people to congregate in the nation’s capital “in support of convoys in Canada.”
According to the government source, state and local law enforcement have so far been unable to get the appropriate number of tow vehicles to remove the expected tractor-trailers, therefore the National Guard will set up strategic obstacles across D.C. The goal is to keep trucks away from the center of D.C., notably Capitol Hill.
In preparation, the USCP has assigned officers for 12-hour shifts, and security officials intend to increase the barrier surrounding the Capitol again next week before the State of the Union address on March 1, Fox News has heard.
National Guard personnel are encamped, which means they are not necessarily physically stationed at sites, but are on standby and prepared for the task, according to a government source. They are pending Department of Defense approval (DOD).
“Pending DOD permission, DCNG stands ready to offer support to District people as requested by the secretary of defense,” D.C. National Guard stated in a statement. According to Pentagon press secretary John Kirby, the department has received a request for help from the United States Capitol Police and the District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency.