The Biden administration is calling out to the National Guard as truckers demanding an end to government coronavirus mandates are likely to descend upon Washington, D.C., next week.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin approved a request from the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department and U.S. Capitol Police for help.
According to CNN, about unarmed 400 D.C. National Guard members will assist the Metropolitan police with traffic control and “provide support at designated traffic posts, provide command and control, and cover sustainment requirements.”
According to Military Times, so-called “critical blocking positions” have been identified. CNN said about 50 positions have been identified. Guard members will staff these on a 24/7 basis beginning Saturday.
Massive vehicles that can be used to shut off traffic flow and other access will be placed at each location.
About 300 members from National Guard units outside of the Washington area will be deployed to assist the Capitol police. Those Guard units will address traffic issues as well as provide augmented security for the Capitol itself.
It was not announced which states will supply troops to assist the Capitol police.
The deployment comes after the Capitol Police re-installed a fence around the Capitol building, where President Joe Biden is scheduled to deliver his State of the Union speech on Tuesday.
The exact plans for what appear to be multiple replicas of Canada’s Freedom Convoy are uncertain.
That protest generated international headlines when it arrived in the Canadian capital of Ottawa after a cross-country trek. In response, the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cracked down harshly, including taking steps against the protesters’ personal finances.
Still, that protest wasn’t dismantled until Saturday, as Fox News reported Sunday.
A news release from the People’s Convoy, which was scheduled to leave California on Wednesday, indicated that the Beltway — and not D.C. proper — was its target when it reaches the Washington area on Saturday, March 5.
The Beltway is a massive commuter highway that encircles the District of Columbia, and is not only the prime route for vehicle traffic into and out of Washington but is also the path for traffic moving among the extensive suburbs around the nation’s capital.
One convoy that had been planned for Wednesday traveling from Scranton, Pennsylvania, to Washington was canceled for lack of participation.
Meanwhile, Maryland gym owner Kyle Sefcik told WUSA-TV that a protest of trucks and motorcycles that he is organizing, called Freedom Convoy USA 2022, was preparing to leave Los Angeles on Friday, heading east and arriving in Washington in time for the State of the Union.
“We want to be there for that and tell the president we’re here,” Sefcik told the station.
Like the People’s Convoy protesters, Sefcik said he wants an end to mandates and to the national state of emergency, which was declared in 2020 by then-President Donald Trump. On Friday, Biden said he planned to extend the state of emergency, according to Reuters.
“This [protest] doesn’t even need to happen,” Sefcik told WUSA. “If the president said, ‘Mandates are over and the state of emergency is over. Let’s get back to the world and let’s do our thing,’ then we’re not even coming.”
In Washington, according to NPR, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee said Friday that his department will adapt to emerging reality, but cautioned that D.C. motorists are likely to feel the impact of the protests however or whenever they arrive.
“There will be disruptions to traffic, that kind of thing,” Contee said. “I think we need to be very candid with the public about what some of the expectations, based upon what we’ve seen in Ottawa, that we might see here in the District.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.