Trucker vaccine mandate protest hits the nation’s capital, snarling traffic

Trucks driving on a freeway.
A convoy of trucks and other vehicles nears the nation’s capital on Sunday.
(Alex Brandon / Associated Press)
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Hundreds of truckers and other motorists who have been doing rolling protests on highways encircling Washington made their way into the nation’s capital Monday, snarling already-congested traffic in a demonstration against COVID-19 mandates and other grievances.

The Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency issued a traffic advisory shortly before 2 p.m. that suggested motorists delay travel or use alternative transportation “due to ongoing demonstration activity on I-395, I-695 and I-295.”

The Metropolitan Police Department closed a number of streets and exits off the highways to prevent protesters from coming into the city. “These rolling road closures are occurring in real-time as they are needed,” the announcement said.


The protesters, separated intermittently by the usual congested traffic, waved flags and blew their horns as they drove. When asked why they had come to protest, one unidentified couple with Montana license plates answered “freedom.”

Local residents took to the police department’s Twitter account, with a number of comments holding city officials and police responsible for the traffic gridlock by shutting the exits.

Authorities sent out a second advisory about two hours later announcing the demonstration had ended and the freeway exits were being reopened.

Ottawa has become the center of a global populist backlash against vaccine mandates and, more broadly, liberal governments.

Feb. 13, 2022

The truckers, some from as far away as California, have been in the area more than a week driving from Hagerstown, Md., to the beltway surrounding Washington to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates as well as voice frustration for other grievances.

Last week, organizers of the group met with Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. Cruz joined them for a ride as they circled the Washington area.