Following weeks of speculation of a potential U.S. trucker convoy, grassroots activists known as the “American Freedom Convoy” are set to launch such a feat next month to protest tyrannical COVID mandates.
Comprised of everyday Americans from across the country, the nationwide protest is set to kick off on the west coast on March 1 and aims to arrive in Washington, D.C. by March 7. According to co-organizer and head of the movement’s Indiana-Ohio region Nicole Robinson, the convoy will accumulate truckers and supporters living in Midwestern, Southern, and Eastern states as it makes its way towards the U.S. capital.
“We have groups that are coming from the west coast. I believe we have Washington, Oregon and then Colorado,” she told The Federalist. “We got people joining in from small towns and stuff. By the time they reach Indiana, it’ll be March 5; they’ll stay overnight here in Indiana and our last leg of the trip will be made on the sixth and we will stop just outside of DC, and we will land in DC on the morning of the seventh.”
The group is separate from the “People’s Convoy,” which has received national media attention and changed its launch date multiple times.
A single mom and travel-certified nursing assistant, Robinson says that after watching the Canadian convoy and witnessing “everything that [her] kids went through with the mandates with school and the school closing down,” she “felt a pull” to take action.
“I decided to do a state Facebook page and I invited a few close friends and family and said, ‘if you know anybody who would be interested, send them the link. It’s a private page, you have to be invited or answer questions to join,'” she said. “It blew up. By the end of the day, I had like 400 people and I’m like, ‘Whoa, what is going on here?'”
The growth and success of Robinson’s page eventually led to Facebook convoy group administrators from other states reaching out to her, which paved the way for forming a team to establish travel routes for a formal nationwide protest.
Chris Merill, a big-rig owner-operator and the coordinator for Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Wyoming, and Iowa, notes that while organizing and participating in such a movement could certainly bear significant personal and financial costs, he believes his children’s future is worth fighting for.
“All that’s been shoved in our faces the last two years is fear,” said Merill. “And I don’t want them to be growing up in a world like that where they’ve got to be afraid to do anything and to be afraid of other people. Anybody is scared to do anything anymore and I don’t like that. That is not the United States that I was proud of. The United States now, it worries me, it scares me.”
“People should not be afraid to stand up for their beliefs, and right now they are. We want everybody to unite and be able to stand up together,” he added.
Derek DePauw, a trucker and coordinator for the Northwestern region of the country, echoed similar sentiments, while also adding that he’s fighting for the “millions out there that aren’t willing, or able, to put themselves in the uncomfortable situations that freedom requires.”
“They are just looking for someone to take that first step up to give them the courage to stand up themselves. At the end of the day, I want to see all of America come together,” said DePauw. “As unrealistic as it sounds, and it likely is, I hope that those that don’t see the reality of it, finally see that it is their freedom as well, that we are doing all this for. We need to make sure that no government, at any point, in futures to come, can ever do this sort of thing ever again. The American people need to have their rights restored, protected, and preserved.”
While organizing the protest, both Robinson and Merill have noted instances of interference from Facebook, with Merill claiming that he’s been shadowbanned on the platform “at least a dozen times in the last week.”
“There was a period of about 72 hours where I couldn’t post anything. I couldn’t edit any of my posts that were already up, and I was never given a reason for it,” he said. “There was a period of time where I had to use other means to communicate with people that I’ve been helping.”
This isn’t the first time Facebook has attempted to suppress attempts to orchestrate a U.S. trucker convoy, however. Earlier this month, the Big Tech platform removed the “Convoy to D.C. 2022” group for purportedly “violating [their] policies around QAnon.” The group had reportedly garnered over 130,000 members prior to its removal.
The launch of the American Freedom Convoy comes on the heels of the Canadian government utilizing police violence against Canadian truckers and protestors in the country’s capital of Ottawa. Following the declaration of Canada’s Emergencies Act, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has ramped up his war on basic freedoms by deploying armed police in riot gear to squash the peaceful demonstrations, while also threatening to freeze the bank accounts of those involved. As of Sunday, nearly 200 individuals have been arrested, including four leaders of the protest.
While Robinson and Merill expressed concerns that such brutal tactics could be employed by the Biden administration against their members, they, along with DePauw, strongly emphasized that they are a peaceful movement with no violent intentions.
“This 100 percent peaceful protest will be just that: 100 percent peaceful,” said DePauw. “Please keep your eyes open, as there will be, beyond all reasonable doubts, bad actors that will get put into the spotlight by the media. We all know this, and 100 percent expect it. There will be false flag events going on. There is no question. But I can assure everyone, it will not be from us. We have absolute zero intention of causing any form of violence to arise.”
“We are not out for any type of vengeance, violence, any of that stuff. The one thing that we have preached is the one thing that everybody has preached, and that’s follow all the laws,” said Robinson, who added that the group has no intentions of blocking interstates and has reached out to several state police departments to notify them of the convoy’s dates and travel routes.
Information about the convoy can be found on their website.