The People’s Convoy, which has raised nearly $1 million in donations, flooded a New Mexico highway Friday as the scores of truckers protesting COVID-19 mask and vaccine mandates entered day three of their cross-country trip to Washington, D.C.
A photograph taken by convoy leader Mike Landis shows the group, comprised of approximately two dozen semi-trucks and about 100 other vehicles, traveling eastbound on I-40, about 15 miles west Albuquerque near the Route 66 Casino, in a motorcade that the convoy said spans eight miles.
The People’s Convoy, inspired by Canada‘s Freedom Convoy protest, raised more than $855,000 in monetary donations as of Friday, according to the protest’s website – nearly double the amount it reported Thursday. Vendors along the route have also donated gas, food and other essentials to the cavalcade.
The convoy started its 11-day trek from California to the nation’s capital on Wednesday and, despite facing a weather delay Thursday, is still expected to arrive in D.C. on March 5, where it will be joined by around 25 other truck cavalcades.
The truckers have called on President Joe Biden to end the National Emergency, which was enacted at the start of the pandemic in 2020 and was extended again last week. The group, arguing that the threat posed by the coronavirus has now receded, also seeks an end to ‘unconstitutional‘ vaccine and mask requirements.
However, nearly every state in America has either lifted or relaxed indoor mask mandates, or has set a date to do so in the near future. The lone holdout is Hawaii, the island state that has had the strictest mandates of anywhere in the country throughout the pandemic. Additionally, only 19 states currently have vaccine mandates in effect – however the mandates do not apply to all individuals and their requirements vary by state.
Although the California-based People’s Convoy will not make it to D.C. in time for Biden’s annual State of the Union address on Tuesday, an eight-vehicle caravan – featuring one semi, four pick-up trucks, two sedans and an SUV – traveling from Pennsylvania will. The Pentagon has deployed 700 members of the National Guard to the capital city ahead of the convoys’ arrival.
The Pennsylvania convoy’s leader, Bob Bolus, has sworn to shut down the Beltway and other roads leading into and out of D.C. He has not disclosed how he intends to block traffic but claims they’re ‘not going to cause a traffic problem any more than they live with every single day.’
Unlike Bolus and the Canadian Freedom Convoy, the People’s Convoy does not intend to disrupt roads or bridges. Organizers have pledged a ‘100% safe, lawful and peaceful journey’ that will ‘terminate in the vicinity of the D.C. area, but will NOT be going into D.C. proper.’
‘A lot of people have asked why we’re doing this – what’s your reason behind it. People want a defined, clear answer. They think it’s one thing,’ organizer Brian Brase said before the group embarked from California.
‘The truth is, it’s about my children. It’s about my future grandchildren. It’s about our families. It’s about our country. It’s about letting our government know that you work for us.’
The People’s Convoy, which has raised nearly $1 million in donations, flooded a New Mexico highway Friday (pictured) as the score of truckers protesting COVID-19 mask and vaccine mandates entered day three of their cross-country trip to Washington D.C.
This map shows the route of the People’s Convoy from California to Washington D.C.
The People’s Convoy was met Friday morning by New Mexico residents who stood on overpasses holding signs and waving American flags.
The group, which was traveling to Texas for its next overnight stop, left Arizona after holding a rally with Myron Lizer, Vice President of the Navajo Nation.
‘I’m here to welcome you. I’m here to acknowledge you and to charge you,’ he told the crowd. ‘Please, as you are getting out there, continue to be mindful of what our creator is doing at this time, but people are rising up. People are dissatisfied.
‘So where do we ourselves in this whole political scheme?’ Lizer questioned.
He continued by praying for the convoy and issuing a blessing before the drivers hit the road.
The People’s Convoy has received an outpour of support along its route, according to Kris Young, who is the admin for the group’s Facebook page.
After their first stop in Arizona she took to Facebook applauding the citizens who lined the streets in celebration of their arrival.
‘We want to thank every one of you for your support. The welcoming on the Arizona overpasses and at Great American Pizza yesterday was absolutely amazing!!’ she wrote Thursday morning.
The convoy organizer also thanked Crazy Fred’s Truck Stop and Rebel Oil, both in Kingman, Arizona, for donating 25,000 gallons of fuel to the convoy.
She claimed shop workers brought the fuel to Great American Pizza and Sub, in Golden Valley, where the convoy stayed their first night on the road, and filled their vehicles.
Approximately two dozen semi-trucks and about 100 other vehicles, traveled eastbound on I-40, near Albuquerque on Friday, in a motorcade that the convoy said spans eight miles
The People’s Convoy was met Friday morning by New Mexico residents who stood on overpasses holding signs and waving American flags
The group traveled to New Mexico from Arizona after holding a rally Friday morning with Myron Lizer, Vice President of the Navajo Nation. The tribe leader prayed for the convoy and issued a blessing before the drivers hit the road
The People’s Convoy raised more than $855,000 in monetary donations as of Friday, according to the protest’s website – nearly double the amount it reported Thursday. Vendors along the route have also donated gas, food and other essentials to the cavalcade
The convoy (pictured in Arizona on Friday morning) started its 11-day trek from California to the nation’s capital on Wednesday and, despite facing a weather delay Thursday, is still expected to arrive in D.C. on March 5, where it will be joined by around 25 other truck cavalcades
The caravan traveling from Pennsylvania does not appear to be as strong as the People’s Convoy.
At its mid-morning departure from Scranton on Wednesday, the motorcade only had eight vehicles, including organizer Bob Bolus’ semi.
‘At one point we had 50,’ Bolus told PennLive early Thursday afternoon, referencing the number of trucks in the caravan.
However, journalists trailing the convoy told the news outlet it ‘never came near having a dozen vehicles’.
When asked about the small number of participants, Bolus said: ‘People have work to do.’
He argued that his protest is focuses on a slew of grievances about the federal government’s overreach including foreign oil imports, pandemic restrictions, the economy and critical race theory.
‘You are not taking any more of our rights away,’ Bolus argued. ‘You are giving rights to illegals. It’s ok for them to do but not us as American citizens. We want the pipeline put back into service. We want fuel back in our country. We want to go back to where we were before instead of giving the rights to foreign countries to put the screws to us because they are feathering their own nests.’
The trucker also said he objected to Scranton changing the names of two roads to honor Biden.
The Pennsylvania convoy, led by Bob Bolus (pictured in his red semi on Wednesday), does not appear to be as strong as the People’s Convoy. At its mid-morning departure from Scranton on Wednesday, the motorcade only had eight vehicles. Bolus claimed it once had 50 travelers, but journalists trailing the convoy claim it ‘never came near having a dozen vehicles’
Supporters watch as People’s Convoy truckers depart from Lupton, Arizona earlier Friday morning. The group is headed next to Texas along its route the D.C.
The People’s Convoy protestors are calling for a full re-opening of the country and are scheduled to arrive in D.C. on March 5. They are pictured Friday morning leaving Lupton, Arizona
The People’s Convoy was traveling I-40 eastbound on Friday (left). Organizers claim they were met with support as they journeyed through New Mexico (right)
Supporters have lined the roads to way and cheer for the convoy participants. This photo was taken Friday morning in Lupton, Arizona
Despite the apparent success of the People’s Convoy, experts allege the trucker convoys aren’t actually about coronavirus restrictions, especially as most states have already begun repealing them. All U.S. states except Hawaii have either lifted or relaxed indoor mask mandates, or have set a date to do so in the near future. Nineteen states currently have vaccine mandates in effect
Despite the apparent success of the People’s Convoy, experts allege the trucker convoys aren’t actually about coronavirus restrictions, especially as most states have already begun repealing them.
‘What we’re seeing is that people are using this as an excuse to just express a whole bunch of other grievances against the Biden administration or perceived threats on their freedom,’ Cynthia Miller-Idriss, director of American University’s Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab told USA Today Thursday.
‘This might be about mandates but not really about mandates in the long run.’
Multiple convoys launched this past week, forcing officials in D.C. to prepare for potential gridlock in the Metropolitan area and on the Beltway, a 64-mile roadway through Virginia and Maryland that circles D.C.
‘The trucker convoys are kind of the latest in what I would say has been happening for over two years, where large groups of people from across the political spectrum, from a variety of different groups – ordinary voters, but also some organized extremists – converge around certain events,’ Miller-Idriss said.
Officials worry that the protests could result in chaos similar to what was seen during the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
‘It’s something that starts as a peaceful protest generally – constitutionally protected, totally peaceful protest – but that sometimes gets co-opted or taken up by other groups that may have bad intentions or are misrepresenting even what the original intentions are,’ she added.
In response to the anticipated protests, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin approved a request from local D.C. government and the Capitol police to deploy 700 members of the National Guard to the capital city ahead of the convoy’s arrival.
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said Guardsmen would not be armed, and will not be empowered to arrest people, but would be reporting wrongdoing to local police. Approximately 50 ‘large tactical vehicles’ will also be stationed in the city 24 hours a day.
City leaders have also increased police presence in the city and plan to reinstall the fencing that surrounded the Capitol complex for much of 2021.