HAGERSTOWN, Md. — A trucker convoy in Hagerstown—known as the Freedom Convoy—continued staging Saturday roughly 65 miles outside of Washington D.C. and the protest appears to be growing in size and scope.
Throughout Saturday demonstrators continued to pour in to the meet up spot at the Hagerstown Speedway, with mixed answers about what they are protesting. Many demonstrators told WUSA9 that the message they hope to send goes beyond the rejection of COVID mandates.
“Showing solidarity with all the truckers,” said Peyman Mottaghi who flew from Denver, Colo. with his family and then rented a minivan to take part in the convoy.
Mottaghi said he is a naturalized US citizen who waited 12 years for citizenship after fleeing a dictatorship in Iran.
“This is for everybody,” Mottaghi said. “Freedom does not belong to one person, one man. It belongs to the whole country.”
As Mottaghi hung an American Flag from his minivan, Roy Wendell, another attendee, was adding a Canadian Flag to his, showing solidarity with the Canadian Trucker Convoy and the origin of this demonstration.
“I am out of a job right now because of the mandates,” Wendell said, referring to vaccine and mask mandates at the heart of the demonstration.
Traffic backed up at least half a mile Saturday getting into the staging area, where WUSA9 counted hundreds of tractor trailers flanked by hundreds more cars, pickups and SUV’s. Virginia and Maryland State Police tell WUSA9 they continue to monitor the situation and the convoy’s potential movement, with the convoy’s timing, and ultimate destination still unclear.
The message of those who are here, is not.
“It’s about us getting our freedoms back,” said Stephen Krown who drove in from Philadelphia to support his friend, who he says is a trucker upset about COVID regulations which ate into already scant profits.
Krown said he too, opposes vaccine and mask mandates, but said for him, the convoy is about more than that.
“The blue-collar man isn’t making what he needs to make to survive anymore,” Krown. “We’re pretty much at the poverty line, but no body looks at it that way. It’s keep taking, keep taking from us to pay everybody else.”
“The point is the American people coming together showing that it doesn’t matter what side of the line you’re on,” Krown said. “That at the end of the day it’s our country.”
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Organizers tell WUSA9 the plan is to continue to stage the convoy in Hagerstown Saturday night, with the potential all the trucks and vehicles could be on the move, Sunday.
The organizers also said two other convoy locations at Virginia Motor Speedway in Jamaica, Va. and Dominion Speedway in Woodburn, Va. are expected to stage vehicles coming from the south Sunday and all three could converge on D.C. sometime Sunday afternoon into Monday.