RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia State Police announced it was monitoring and preparing for a potential trucker convey designed to impact traffic in and around Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C.
U.S. Capitol Police erected a fence around the Capitol building ahead of President Joe Biden's State of the Union address “out of an abundance of caution,” in consultation with the Secret Service.
The move came as officials in Washington prepared for trucker convoys that are planning protests against pandemic restrictions. The Pentagon has already approved the deployment of 700 unarmed National Guard troops to be used to assist with traffic control during potential demonstrations.
Modeled after recent trucker protests in Canada, separate truck convoys have been planned through online forums. Many have different starting points, departure dates, and routes, though some were scheduled to arrive in time for the State of the Union address, no convoy disrupted the State of Union. Others may arrive afterward.
"Virginia State Police respects the public’s First Amendment rights and has been in contact with various groups’ organizers to ensure their understanding of Virginia traffic laws," a Virginia State Police spokesperson wrote in a statement. "These communications have also enabled us to share our expectations related to keeping traffic flowing safely and efficiently on Virginia highways, especially in the case of emergencies and for first responder vehicles."
Drivers can expect to see an increase in Virginia State Police patrols in Northern Virginia, should a trucker convoy enter the region.
"This week, the governor has received regular briefings on the incoming trucker convoy," a spokesperson for Gov. Glenn Youngkin said Friday "We remain dedicated to ensuring that individuals can express their first amendment rights while continuing the safe flow of traffic for all travelers. We anticipate the possibility of heavier than normal traffic this weekend and will continue to monitor with the help from our state, local and federal partners."
Today, please be prepared for increased congestion on Interstate-495. I’m appreciative of our state, local and federal partners’ efforts to ensure first amendment rights are respected and to keep traffic moving safely. https://t.co/lzRHUSOfGW— Governor Glenn Youngkin (@GovernorVA) March 6, 2022
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