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Don't call it a comeback: Trucker Convoy heading back to DC after protesting elsewhere

Rested and renewed after some spent weeks on vacation or with family, the people's convoy is reconvening and coming back after a month of highway protests fell flat.

BUTTE, Mont. — The message has always been the same: We want our freedoms back. What exactly that means for the People's Convoy of truckers that have now traversed the country East-to-West-to back East again remains less clear. But what is clear is that their protest will be coming back to the DMV later this month.

The People's Convoy, an activist organization started by truckers during the height of the COVID-19 omicron variant surge protesting the series of mask and vaccine mandates enacted to ensure public health, have been pushing for an end to the federal emergency declaration related to the pandemic that they say infringes on their constitutional rights.

"We're not heroes, but we are fed up Americans," said one speaker at a rally in Olympia on Sunday. "If we don't stand up, our country is doomed." 

The group left Washington state and has made stops in Portland, Oregon, Salt Lake City, Utah, and Boise, Idaho to pick up more spirited protesters in their big rigs.

RELATED: Members of trucker convoy sue DC government in federal court

As of Friday, the convoy was leaving an overnight stop in Butte, Montana and had planned stops through the weekend in Wyoming, Nebraska, and a rally in Des Moines, Iowa on May 11. At that rate, it could be two weeks before protestors enter the DMV.

*** Updated *** We encourage everyone to join us in this journey back to DC. The People’s Convoy immediate needs are funds for fuel and boots on the ground. The only place to donate is through our website www.thepeoplesconvoy.org or cash delivered in person. ** 5/05/22 The convoy will leave Post Falls, ID at 8:30 am and take I-90E for 78 miles to the Dena Mora Rest Area – I-90, Saltese, MT for a quick bathroom break. We will continue on I90E for 91 miles to Exit #96 to Muralt’s Travel Plaza – 8800 Truck Stop Rd, Missoula, MT for a GAS N GO break. Our overnight/meet and greet stop location will be: U. S. High Altitude Speed Skating Center – 34 Olympic Way, Butte, MT ** 5/06/22 Fuel Stop at: Pilot/Flying J – 561 Business Hub Dr, Belgrade, MT — This is a GAS-N-GO stop. Overnight/meet and greet stop: Bighorn County Fairgrounds – 118 Sawyer Loop, Hardin, MT — We will have access to rest rooms and showers (BYO towels & soap). ** 5/07/22 Fuel Stop at: EXXON – 199 US-16, Buffalo, WY — This is a GAS-N-GO stop. Overnight/meet and greet Stop at: Casper Speedway – 1277 Amoco Rd, Casper, WY — Concession stand available for convoy & visitors and porta johns. ** 5/08/22 GAS-N-GO Location: Big D Oil Co – 2310 W Lincolnway, Cheyenne, WY Overnight/meet and greet Stop at: Sapp Bros Travel Ctr – 2914 Upland Pkwy, Sidney, NE ** 5/09/22 GAS-N-GO at: Fat Dogs – 102 Frontage Rd, North Platte, NE Overnight/meet and greet Stop at: AKAL Travel Center – 915 Rd S, Waco, NE ** 5/10-12/22 —— RALLY 5/11 !!! Overnight/Rally - Farm Boy Garage - 10660 E. County Line Road, Des Moines, IA - RALLY 6:00 PM 5/11

Posted by Kris Young on Thursday, May 5, 2022

The protests began in February 2022 with a trip from California across the U.S. ending in the nation's capital, emulating the Canadian trucker protests that shut down their country's government for about a month over vaccine mandates. The People's Convoy set up camp at the Hagerstown Speedway where they would set off on daily trips around the DC beltway causing road closures and traffic delays. 

However, leadership setbacks, confusion about logistics, and infighting about the best protest strategy caused the messaging and enthusiasm to fizzle. The leaders and most popular streamers went home to spend time with families and off on 'much-needed vacations' away from their cause.

RELATED: What's in a Convoy: How a lack of coherent leadership is causing fractures and factions in the large trucker protest

The convoy left the DMV and went back to the West Coast, focused on fundraising efforts and a state-by-state organizing effort to get Americans to join the cause. Now, after a few weeks in the Pacific Northwest, the group has gone wheels up and is on its way back to D.C.

But the embattled organization has not been without its dissenters. As recently as Thursday, the official Facebook page showed heated posts and comments arguing about what the convoy's mission should be about. 

"How on earth do ya carry on fighting for the dumbest stuff?" posted one woman claiming to be the wife of a trucker who had originally supported the convoy's efforts. "My god the entire industry is on its knees because of so so many reasons and yall [sic] want to talk about masks!!!???"

The group is also suing the D.C. government and MPD over the traffic blockades that prevented the protests from reaching downtown D.C., which police cited as a safety precaution. Incidents in the past week with convoy participants and counter-protesters firing weapons at each other have also put a stain on the narrative of a peaceful protest.

According to WUSA9's sister station in Portland (KGW), officers responded to a report of people "throwing objects" from the Northeast Glisan Street overpass above I-205, along with a report of shots fired. 

"Portland Police were monitoring a protest 'convoy' that was driving through Portland and counterdemonstrators confronting them," PPB said in a statement. "Officers determined that the shot fired call was likely related." 

Officers did recover evidence of at least one shot fired, but did not find anyone who had been hit. PPB said that a group of about 15 people were "yelling at and harassing officers" during the investigation. No arrests were made.

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