WASHINGTON - D.C. residents could potentially see around 1,000 to 3,000 protesters – connected to the trucker convoy – arrive in the District by next Tuesday.
That’s at least according to a permit request confirmed by the National Park Service (NPS).
Spokesperson Mike Litterst told FOX 5 on Monday NPS did receive at least one request to accommodate 1,000 – 3,000 people for a First Amendment event planned for March 1st at the Sylvan Theater.
Area state, local, and federal law enforcement officials confirm they have been preparing for a trucker convoy planning to come to the region to protest COVID-19 mandates, among other issues.
The protest is also purposefully planned to take place the same day as the 2022 State of the Union Address.
Maryland gubernatorial candidate Kyle Sefcik released a social media video addressed to President Joe Biden on Monday explaining his concerns.
"I’m coming to you as a father, a small business owner who’s unaffiliated to any parties. We just want government overreach to end. On behalf of Freedom Convoy USA 2022, we are asking you to end the state of emergency. End the mandates once and for all," Sefcik said.
Sefcik also tells FOX 5 he’s been planning the Freedom Convoy’s arrival to D.C. and the March 1st First Amendment event in support of the trucker convoy.
Over the phone, Sefcik distanced himself from any groups planning not to act lawfully, such as the truckers who say they are going to shut down the Capital Beltway.
A trucking company owner out of Pennsylvania told FOX 5, in an exclusive interview on Sunday, he is planning to stop traffic on I-495 this week.
"I'll give you an analogy of that of a giant boa constrictor," the truck owner told FOX 5’s Lindsay Watts, "That basically squeezes you, chokes you, and it swallows you, and that's what we're going to do D.C."
Part of the plans posted by Freedom Convoy USA 2022 shows a route from California to Frederick, Maryland before arriving at the District of Columbia. A Maryland State Police (MSP) spokesperson told FOX 5 they are aware of these plans. An official statement reads:
The Maryland State Police is aware of potential protests planned by truck drivers in and around the Maryland National Capital Region. While monitoring the situation throughout the country, Maryland State Troopers from the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, the Automotive Safety Enforcement Division and barracks around the region are working with federal, state and local agencies to monitor developments. State police are coordinating with public safety partners in neighboring states and will be ready to respond appropriately with adequate resources to ensure the free flow of traffic throughout the routes of travel.
When asked on Monday whether state police had knowledge of separate plans to block the Capital Beltway this week, FOX 5 was told both Virginia and Maryland State Police are monitoring the situation closely. A Maryland State Police spokesperson confirmed the department already has troopers at staging areas in case resources are needed.
D.C. leaders have not disclosed how many trucker groups or truckers are anticipated to travel to the area. Truckers protesting COVID-19 mandates caused major shutdowns and disruptions in Ottawa, Canada for two weeks, causing the mayor of the country’s capital to declare a State of Emergency.
FOX News reports there are plans to raise fencing around the U.S. Capitol Building in anticipation of events around the 2022 State of the Union Address. Capitol Police already have some roadways leading to the Capitol Building blocked with trash trucks, street-sweepers, and salt trucks.