Truckers against covid restrictions protest in Washington without causing traffic jams | International

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The Pueblo caravan receives support on its way from Hagerstown to Washington on Sunday, March 6.Bill Green (AP)

Truckers from the self-styled People's Caravan have come to Washington to protest health mandates, though states have been gradually lifting them in recent weeks. The hundreds of vehicles have not entered the US capital, but they have hindered traffic on the Beltway, a ring road that surrounds the city, on Sunday and Monday. The Pentagon has approved this morning to extend the deployment of National Guard members in the city until Wednesday.

Activists want the Joe Biden Administration to end the state of emergency declared in March 2020 by his predecessor, Donald Trump, to stop the coronavirus. They also want Congress to conduct an investigation into the government's response to the pandemic through public appearances. Brian Brase, organizer of the People's Caravan, has insisted on several occasions that the truckers who have reached Washington - some driving 4,000 kilometers, from California - are not anti-vaccines, but "defenders of freedom".

“It's time for politicians to work with America's blue-collar and white-collar employees to restore freedom by lifting all mandates and ending the state of emergency. Covid-19 is under control and Americans need to go back to work freely and without restrictions,” the protest leaders published in a statement. Dozens of states have announced the end of the mask indoors and the Supreme Court struck down the mandatory nature of the vaccine that Biden intended to impose on large companies.

Unlike the caravan of Canadian truckers, which blocked traffic at the US border for a week, US activists are only driving very slowly to slow down traffic. They all do it in the same row, so it doesn't generate big traffic jams either. The authorities were worried about what could happen this Monday when the traffic is higher.

Truckers drove the entire Beltway twice on Sunday. It took about two hours and they managed to gather a caravan 100 kilometers long. The plan is that each day they will add an extra lap to the ring road. Most of the hundreds of activists who have joined the protest with their trucks, vans or vans carry flags in support of Trump and signs against Biden.

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