Protesters, with members from at least three individual motorcade groups, are expected to arrive in Washington over the coming weekend.
The convoys follow the example of Canadian protesters who spent three weeks protesting against COVID-19 orders, mutilating three U.S. border crossings and central Ottawa.
Canadian police arrested more than 100 people when the so-called “Freedom Convoy” became violent after truckers blocked roads and angered residents by honking their horns.
Other “Freedom Convoys” in Europe, including groups in France and Belgium, prevented protesters from moving in, and law enforcement responded with tear gas and arrests.
With orders for COVID-19 already declining across the country as the number of cases drops, protesters continue to make demands.
Here’s what you need to know about them:
Who participates in the escort groups?
There are several groups across the country participating in the protest, with some key escorts including the “People’s Escort” traveling across the country from California and expected to arrive on Saturday.
The team, which has nearly 300,000 Facebook followers, will include truck drivers as well as others such as doctors, teachers and pilots.
Another group, which called itself the “American Freedom Escort” and includes mostly Midwest members, is also heading to Washington, DC, but is back and will arrive around March 7.
It is not clear how many people or trucks will participate in the escorts.
What do the protesters want?
There is a common demand coming from the participating escorts: termination of COVID-19 orders, including mask and vaccine requirements.
“The average American worker must be able to cope with the financial hardships of the last two years and return to the bread-making business,” People’s Convoy’s said in a press release.
“To this end, it is time for elected officials to work with American workers and restore accountability and freedom by removing all mandates and ending the state of emergency – as COVID is well on its way now. “Americans need to get back to work in a free and unrestricted way.”
Organizers told CNN the protest would be moderate and “legal,” and the group has no plans to emulate Canada with roadblocks, clashes or other unrest.
“The People’s Escort will comply with the agreements with the local authorities and will finish near the DC area, but will not go to the DC area,” the team said.
The People’s Convoy said it was moving away from other groups that may have other, less peaceful plans.
The participating American Freedom Convoy told CNN they had no intention of being violent, but hinted that it could happen if law enforcement “sends troops to stop the protests.”
Law enforcement is preparing for a possible break
Virginia State Police issued traffic advice for Virginia throughout the weekend, warning drivers to prepare for “possible convoys of commercial and passenger vehicles that affect traffic in and around the National Capital Territory.”
“Virginia State Police respects the First Amendment rights of the public and has contacted the organizers of various groups to ensure they understand Virginia traffic laws,” police said.
Maryland State Police are also monitoring the situation and plan to deploy extra troops to “tackle any breaches of the law” and help traffic flow.
“The services will provide staff and additional resources based on the analysis of the situation to ensure our road safety and minimize possible traffic jams throughout the area,” police said in a statement received by CNN WJLA subsidiary.
The DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency sent a message Thursday to local businesses and religious community members warning them of a holiday break due to the protests.
“As a result, vehicle traffic may be affected and businesses and other organizations may experience delays in incoming and outgoing deliveries as well as employee access during this period.” “Please be careful if you drive in affected areas.” and wait for delays on arrival at your destination If possible, delay traveling to these areas or consider using Metrorail. “
The police can close a concrete road to “minimize the effects of these demonstrations” and will provide updates when they come.
The rules for COVID-19 are being lifted as the number of cases decreases
As the number of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations slowly declines, cities and states are easing vaccine and mask requirements.
COVID-19 hospitalizations are lower than most last year, with the U.S. having an average of 55,701 new COVID-19 cases a day, according to Johns Hopkins University, down 26% from last week and the lowest cases are from the end of July.
There are 41,014 people currently being treated for COVID-19, down 23% from the previous week. Current hospitalizations are now about a quarter of what they were at their peak in mid-January and lower than they were for most of last year.
Due to declining COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, mask orders and vaccine passport rules have been reduced across the country in recent days and weeks as local officials changed their rules as the fall of COVID-19 numbers.
More recently in New York, the state has lifted most orders and requirements for masks to demonstrate proof of vaccination for indoor activities.
A growing number of states – the majority with Democratic governors – have announced in recent weeks that they will remove their mandate for indoor or school masks, including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Haven, New Haven.
According to new guidance from the CDC, more than 70% of the population is in a location with low or medium levels of COVID-19. In these areas, a mask is not necessary unless a person is at “increased risk” for COVID-19 and if so, the CDC recommends that you talk to your healthcare provider about using a mask.
Even in some counties with “high” COVID-19 levels, such as in states such as California, Illinois, Oregon and Washington, mask orders are lifted.
According to CDC guidance updates, people in low- and middle-income counties in the COVID-19 community no longer need to wear masks indoors unless they are immunosuppressed or at “high risk” for severe COVID-19 and if so , the CDC recommends that you talk to your healthcare provider about using a mask.
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The video in the media player above was used in a previous report.
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