The Pentagon is weighing a request to call up National Guard support for law enforcement ahead of a Washington-bound convoy to protest COVID-19 mandates.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Tuesday that the Defense Department is “analyzing” the request for assistance from the U.S. Capitol Police and D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency.
“Those agencies have asked for National Guard personnel to provide support at traffic control points in and around the District to help the USCP and D.C. government address potential challenges stemming from possible disruptions at key traffic arteries,” he said in a statement. “No decisions have been made yet to approve these requests.”
Multiple groups inspired by Canada’s Freedom Convoy have announced plans to protest COVID-19 mandates in Washington in the coming weeks, raising fears that demonstrators could grip the city ahead of President Biden’s State of the Union address scheduled for March 1.
One organizer said Sunday that he aimed to shut down the Capital Beltway surrounding Washington.
“I’ll give you an analogy of that of a giant boa constrictor,” Bob Bolus told WTTG Fox-5. “That basically squeezes you, chokes you and it swallows you, and that’s what we’re going to do D.C.”
Mr. Bolus told the Washington Fox affiliate that he had received interest from hundreds of people but was not sure how many trucks would participate in the convoy.
A separate group, known as the People’s Convoy, has announced that they will begin a cross-country convoy from Adelanto Stadium outside of Los Angeles to Washington on Wednesday.
According to their plan published online, they are slated to arrive in the Washington region on March 5.
Capitol Police said in a statement last week that it is coordinating with multiple local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in anticipation of the convoys.
The department also said that it is considering re-erecting the non-scalable fence that surrounded the Capitol for months following the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
“The temporary inner-perimeter fence is part of those ongoing discussions and remains an option, however at this time no decision has been made,” a spokesperson from the department said.
A spokesperson from the Capitol Police would not comment on the department’s request for support by the National Guard.