An effort to imitate the fleet of Canadian truckers who brought Ottawa and several border crossings to a standstill is struggling in the U.S. as COVID mandates, COVID fears and general COVID obsession has seemed to evaporate in favor of the new crisis in Ukraine.
The “People’s Convoy” hit another roadblock as the National Park Service unsurprisingly denied their application for a permit to turn the National Mall in the heart of Washington, D.C. into a trucker encampment. In a letter obtained by The Daily Beast on March 15, the agency wrote to lead organizer Brian Brase that they had “partially denie[d]” the request, citing a series of other requests to use the Mall.
Brase wrote that “10,000 to 100,000” supporters would show up for the National Mall encampment, but when The Daily Beast reported from their Hagerstown encampment at a local speedway at its peak two weeks ago, no more than 2,000 convoy-goers were present. Since then the convoy has dwindled to about 500 participants sticking it out in the small town nearly two hours northwest of D.C.
Also, however, towns and cities and states across the U.S. have suddenly been lifting, easing and removing COVID restrictions and mask mandates, robbing the convoy of an ongoing cause.
The People’s Convoy, which has added to already heavy traffic around Washington, had also requested a huge amount of space and time for their pop-up trucker camp, requesting all National Mall land between “3rd and 12th streets, Madison and Jefferson Drives” for a demonstration intended to last from March 14 through March 26.
The permit rejection didn’t come up at the group’s meeting on Tuesday evening, where organizer Mike Landis said that while the prospect of “tear[ing] the fence down at the White House and hang[ing] politicians” was “extremely enticing,” he added that isn’t “why we are here.”