WASHINGTON D.C., DC — The presence of a trucker group known as the 1776 Restoration Movement is growing in the nation's capital.
WUSA9 caught up with organizers of the group, which formed as an offshoot of the People's Convoy, on their fifth day on the National Mall, where the group is camping out along Madison Drive Northwest despite them not having a permit from the National Park Service.
"It's day five, we were told, a lot of people said we weren't going to be here, and we are here. We are going to stay," said a man that identified himself as 'Raptor'.
Park Police was on standby while participants handed out their redress of grievances to people passing by. Members say their freedoms have been stripped away, and they question the role of the federal government.
"We are going to fight to bring back our constitutional republic and bring back morality to our country," said Raptor.
Another member who identified himself as 'X-Ray' said border security and the economy are among the issues driving people to D.C. to be a part of the movement. "You look around, and our stock market is in the toilet, you know. We are wondering, what is going on over here, what is going on with our elected and appointed officials?"
Organizers say more participants are coming to the nation's capital, and they will continue parking on the 1000 block of Madison Drive. They plan to avoid issues with law enforcement by moving their vehicles and paying for the parking meters using donations they are receiving from supporters.
The leader of the group, David "Santa' Riddell, was arrested by D.C. Police officers at the Mall on July 6 and charged with disturbing peace/hindering passage, disorderly conduct, and failure to obey a lawful order. Riddell was picked up on a Maryland State Police warrant.
"We do not want violence. We are telling people not to bring weapons. We do not want to storm the capitol or take over any federal buildings," said 'X-Ray.
Organizers said there is no end date to their protest and that they will continue their protest in D.C. even if Park Police asks them to leave because they do not have permission to camp on the Mall.