NJ State Police Preparing to Tow Protesting Truckers
The head of New Jersey's State Police says his agency and several partner law enforcement agencies are monitoring a planned trucker protest and convoy that will be moving down intestates next week.
Organizers have been recruiting truckers in New Jersey and the Northeast for a convoy that will travel through the garden state, meeting up with convoys from other states, and heading to Washington, D.C.
They were inspired by the massive truckers' protests in Ottawa, Canada, that protected COVID-19 mandates.
A map posted to Facebook shows truckers starting on Route 17 South to intestates 287, 295, and 195 to New Egypt Speedway in Plumsted for a welcome rally on March 5.
On March 6, the convoy will travel South on 295 leaving New Jersey to join up with other convoys headed the U.S. Capitol.
State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan says troopers are preparing "to make sure that we can mitigate, if not eliminate, anything like happening like we saw up in Ottawa."
Organizers say they have no intention of causing a blockade like the one that locked down Canada's capital city.
We do not plan on doing anything that would hurt anybody. It’s peaceful. We’re just trying to put an end to some of the things that are, we feel, jeopardizing our freedom. - Jackie Thomas, convoy organizer
Col. Callahan said that was a good thing, saying, "Moving at a slow rate of speed is something that we don't want, but coming to a complete stop offers a different scenario."
However, in the event that the trucks do stop, State Police are prepared to remove them from the roadway.
"We are planning for a scenario where we would have heavy duty wreckers standing by to tow them," Callahan said, "At their expense, off of our intestates," but then added he hopes it doesn't come to that.
Meanwhile, Gov. Phil Murphy has ordered 100 members of New Jersey's National Guard deployed to the U.S. Capitol to help with security. At his COVID briefing on Wednesday, Murphy said the troops would help "make sure we don't see what happened in Ottawa happens in our nation's Capitol."
The troops are expected to be in place by March 1 in anticipation of possible protests of President Joe Biden's State of the Union address.