Those who have visited Washington, D.C. in recent years understood that, at least since 9/11, getting near the White House was impossible. (NOTE: Private tours may now be arranged, but they must take place through one’s Congressperson; potential tourists are subject to background checks as well.) However, the rest of the capitol buildings were open – although heavily secured – for school groups and other tourists. Being able to tour these facilities, view the original Constitution, to see Washington at work – these are beneficial to all Americans, and they provide a means of truly appreciating the brilliant minds who formed the American experiment.
After January 6, 2021, however, even that changed. The rush on the Capitol Building as Congress prepared to certify the November 2020 election results prompted the erection of a fence that stayed in place for six months in 2021.
Now, with President Biden’s second State of the Union address looming, Fox News has confirmed that the fencing is being erected once more.
The Capitol Police, who serve within the Congress and provide protection for legislators, are bracing for the incoming convoy of truckers slated to arrive in the coming week. The Capitol Police believe there is the potential for protestors from an American “Freedom Convoy” of truckers, although various news outlets have reported that there is a convoy of at least 1,000 American truckers headed to the nation’s capital. Most of these truckers are said to be coming from California, a state that has enacted numerous mandates on truckers from not only the age and engine of the trucks they drive, but also mandates having to do with the pandemic.
The Capitol Police say they are aware of not only the American truckers headed to DC, but other protestors as well. They wish to “facilitate First Amendment protest activity” while still preparing against the possibility of those protests getting out of control. The Capitol Police said they are working jointly with the DC National Guard as well as local law enforcement agencies.
The United States Capitol Police released a statement last week detailing their close work with the United States Secret Service; the two agencies have been working together to craft a plan for handling any protests that may get out of hand leading up to the State of the Union address.
The Capitol Police statement related: “Law enforcement agencies across the National Capital Region are aware of plans for a series of truck convoys arriving in Washington, D.C. around the time of the State of the Union (address). As with any demonstration, the USCP will facilitate lawful First Amendment activity.”
In Canada, a Freedom Convoy of truckers went to Ottawa approximately three weeks ago. At first, protests were peaceful. However, as the weeks went by without the protestors leaving, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has invoked the Emergencies Act, which allows the government to freeze bank accounts, tow the truckers’ eighteen wheelers, and arrest protestors. Alarming videos coming out of Canada have shown elderly men being arrested, and video of a handicapped individual on a scooter being pushed off the device then trampled by police on horseback is circling the internet. There have been nearly 200 arrests in Canada since Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act last week.
It is likely the turn of events in Canada have prompted the erection of the fence in DC. While protestors for the most part have been peaceful in Ottawa, the Capitol Police in DC appear to be preparing for any situation on our soil.
The Capitol Police did not give any information as to when or if this fence would be torn down after the State of Union address, scheduled for March 1, 2022.