U.S. Pennsylvania Truckers Convoy to D.C. Sees Just One 18-Wheeler Show Up

BY LORA KORPAR  2/23/22  NEWSWEEK – The trucker protest making its way from Scranton, Pennsylvania to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday only has eight vehicles in it so far.

Bob Bolus, a truck company owner and one of the convoy’s organizers, is driving the only large truck in the group at this point, according to Reuters journalist Julio-César Chávez, who is at the scene. As of 12 p.m. ET, five pickup trucks, one SUV and one sedan were also in the convoy with Bolus.

The protest is inspired by the much larger Canadian “Freedom Convoy,” which occupied the nation’s capital, Ottawa, for nearly a month and blocked crossings into the United States. Bolus and the convoy are protesting vaccine mandates, trucker rights, critical race theory and an increase in taxes and fuel prices, he told D.C. news station WUSA.

This convoy is separate from the “People’s Convoy” protest, which plans to depart Adelanto Stadium in Southern California Wednesday, then drive across the country to D.C. That convoy is calling for the government to immediately lift its declaration of a national emergency due to the pandemic, Newsweek previously reported.

The U.S. Defense Department approved the request by Capitol Police to deploy National Guard members and large tactical vehicles ahead of possible trucker convoy protests descending on the Washington area. Above, light towers are assembled in a closed section of Pennsylvania Ave, near the U.S. Capitol Building, on February 23, 2022, in Washington, DC

The Pennsylvania convoy started with a small parade through downtown Scranton, Bolus’ truck appearing to be the only one in the convoy at the time, according to a video from Chávez. The 18-wheeler was decorated with the American and Canadian flags, and with slogans like “We the people are unified,” “The revolution is here” and “There is only one race: the human race.”

Bolus told Chávez that he was not concerned about the small number of vehicles in the convoy because his trailer “speaks volumes.”

“We’ve got a few cars…we’ve got people who see what we’re doing on social media and everywhere else,” Bolus said. “It’s like having 10,000 people anyway.”

According to Chávez, other 18-wheelers were passing Bolus’ truck while on the highway.

“I just watched the one of Bob Bolus’ own work trucks pass him on the highway and continue driving,” he wrote on Twitter. He added that the convoy plans to stop in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania before continuing to Washington, D.C.

WhileBolus initially intended for the convoy to block highways around the capital—telling a local news station “it may be the whole Beltway that’s blocked down”—he changed his mind after law enforcement contacted him.

Bolus told WUSA that while he plans to keep the protest peaceful, disruption on the Beltway is still possible.

“We’re leaving lanes open for emergency vehicles, and we’re sending a message to the people in D.C. that you voted for these people,” he said.

Though the Pentagon has approved the Capitol Police‘s request to deploy unarmed National Guard members to help with traffic control during the upcoming trucker protests, the deployment will not begin until February 26.

Trucker Jonie Smith and her husband, who plan to join the Pennsylvania convoy, told WUSA she believes the protest will remain peaceful.

“We have no intentions of shutting anything down, but will there be an inconvenience? Of course,” Smith said.