Washington prepares for lorry convoy protest

So far, there is little evidence that protesters would arrive before President Joe Biden's State of the Union Address on March 1

Protesters and lorry drivers start gathering before the departure of the People's Convoy, at the Adelanto Stadium, Adelanto, California, on February 22, 2022. EPA
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US organisers for a lorry protest hope to gather on Wednesday for a drive across the country to Washington to demonstrate against a national emergency order for the pandemic.

Taking after a similar protest in Canada that has been emulated elsewhere, lorry drivers plan to gather at Adelanto Stadium in southern California early on Wednesday to form the start of "the People's Convoy".

From there, they hope to make several stops along southern and mid-Atlantic states in the US before arriving in the Washington area by March 5.

The Pentagon on Tuesday approved 400 Washington National Guard members to "provide support at designated traffic posts, provide command and control, and cover sustainment requirements" from February 26 through March 7."

Additionally, 50 large tactical vehicles were approved to be placed at traffic posts.

The organisers' website demands that US President Joe Biden lift the national emergency for the coronavirus pandemic, which started in mid-March 2020 and was renewed on February 24.

"The Covid-19 pandemic continues to cause significant risk to the public health and safety of the nation," Mr Biden wrote.

A video on the protest website by a People's Convoy organiser, Mike Landis, included lies about vaccines and the pandemic as part of a call for people to join and donate to the protest.

Mr Landis claims the emergency order is a threat to the nation's constitution and American civil rights, despite the recent removal of most mask rules and vaccine mandates in the country.

The US is also recording a seven-day average of 1,500 daily deaths to Covid-19, and leads the world with a death toll of more than 930,000 people dead to the pandemic.

The White House says the Biden administration is watching for any possible lorry protest arriving in Washington.

"Yes, we've actually been been monitoring this closely," press secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday.

"The Department of Homeland Security and the administration are tracking reports of a potential convoy that may be planning to travel to several US cities including Washington DC."

"We have been working ... closely with our federal, state and local partners to continuously assess the threat environment, keep our communities safe."

Police breaking up a lorry "freedom convoy" blockade in Canada's capital resulted in 170 arrests over the weekend.

Updated: April 27, 2022, 5:22 AM