California truckers fed up with the federal government’s endless emergency powers mandating masks and vaccines are gearing up for what they hope will become a Canadian-style “freedom convoy” to Washington, D.C., and are set to roll on Interstate 40 heading east from Barstow on Feb. 23.
A national group, called The People’s Convoy, is organizing the truckers who will hit the road for the nation’s capital city to demand the Emergency Powers Act be lifted, ending the mandates, according to Chris Marston, chairman of the American Foundation for Civil Liberties, a non-profit that advocates for civil liberties issues and is helping coordinate the trucker’s protest.
Though previous news reports stated the convoy wouldn’t depart California until March 7, organizers now say the convoy will leave earlier than planned.
“Freedom can’t wait,” Marston told The Epoch Times.
The group said it is calling on the American people to join the “call to freedom” in the spirit of “our brave and courageous neighbours to the north—our Canadian brothers and sisters who led the charge.”
The Freedom Convoy in Canada has captured international attention the last handful of weeks as hundreds of truckers have parked in protest outside Parliament in Ottawa, the nation’s capital, demanding Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s resignation and an end to mask and vaccine mandates.
A map of the convoy’s expected route will be posted to the group’s website, Maureen Steele, a The People’s Convoy organizer, said Feb. 16 on “War Room,” a streaming political talk show and podcast hosted by former Donald Trump advisor Steve Bannon.
To ensure donations for the truckers won’t be frozen or routed to other causes—a problem the Canadian truckers encountered with the crowdsourcing platform GoFundMe—The People’s Convoy is taking donations directly on their website.
Peter Navarro, Trump’s former economic adviser—and a regular on Bannon’s show—praised Canadian truckers for leading the charge against what he called government tyranny.
“They are like the Boston Tea Party. They’re the fountainhead of a worldwide movement, which is basically on the right side of both science and economics. And we have to thank those Canadian truckers,” Navarro said.
Dr. Robert Malone, a virologist, immunologist, and inventor of mRNA vaccines, who has been an outspoken critic of the federal government’s handling of the pandemic and mandates, also suggested on the show that Washington may soon see a new kind of “woke”—that supporters have called an “awakening.”
“I think that the truckers, when they hit the Capitol, may well wake up a large number of our representatives and senators that are kind of a little bit asleep right now,” Malone said.
Joshua Yoder of the US Freedom Flyers, a recently formed group of American air, rail, and trucking professionals who believe in “the right to travel freely” regardless of one’s vaccination status, also appeared on the show to support the U.S. convoy.
“These are Americans who want their voices to be heard. We’ve been shut out for so long,” Yoder said. “There’s a lot of average people coming together, uniting … This is people speaking out and voicing their frustrations, and I think the government would do well to listen to us. It’s been far too long,”
Leigh Dundas, a civil rights attorney based in Orange County and known for her fight against vaccine passports in that county, told The Epoch Times she has been working to unite truckers.
“I’ve been keeping the communication channels open between groups … acting as a de facto clearing house between different truckers who wanted to get connected … and do something similar, but also different from what Canada did,” Dundas told The Epoch Times on Feb. 15.
Dundas said she is urging American truckers to keep the U.S. convoy lawful and peaceful like their northern neighbours and to organize in such a way to keep out any “infiltrators,” who could potentially undermine their goal.
“They’ve done a lot of things right in Canada and we should be taking their lead,” she said.
For those involved, they said they hope the planned American convoy will be a turning point.
“For me personally, it’s about our freedoms as Americans,” trucker Mike Landis said on a video posted on The People’s Convoy website. “This isn’t just about us as truck drivers, or a certain group of people or anything. It’s about Americans. … This is for the people.”
Greg Abdouch, who heads up a grassroots group opposed to mask mandates for school children in Southern California’s Inland Empire, which includes parts of San Bernardino and Riverside counties, said in an interview with The Epoch Times that he’s in full support and thinks other groups, like his, will be too.
Though he said he commends the Canadian truckers, he predicts it will be “small potatoes” compared to what could happen in the United States.
“I feel like this is the moment in time where we’re actually making history,” he said. “I think you’re going to have soccer moms … getting in their cars, slapping a flag on the back, and driving behind this convoy,” he said.