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Trucker protest turns out to be 'much ado about nothing'

Organizers had predicted as many as 10,000 trucker drivers would participate in the protest. (The Trucker file photo)

The Trucker Staff

10/14/2013

WASHINGTON — By most all accounts, the supposed three-day rolling protest by truckers was much ado about nothing.

After garnering some media coverage Friday, there was no coverage by major newspapers and wire services over the weekend.

Most of the media attention in Washington focused on the government shutdown, the looming debt ceiling deadline and a protest by Tea Party members who took down barricades to the World War II memorial and piled them against the fence outside the White House.

Reports out of Washington indicated there were only about 30 tractors involved in Friday’s activity, which organizers called “Truckers Ride For The Constitution.” According to the organization's Facebook page, early Saturday 65 people had gathered to continue the protest. The group also took part in the effort to take down the barricades at the World War II memorial, according to its Facebook page.

No reports of activity were circulated among the news media Saturday or Sunday.

Organizers had predicted as many as 10,000 trucker drivers would participate in the protest.

Their target was to clog traffic on the Beltway around Washington.

Video cams Friday occasionally showed three trucks rolling side by side, clogging up cars and other trucks behind them, but traffic on the Beltway otherwise kept right on moving.

At one point, according to the Virginia State Police, four commercial vehicles slowed traffic to 15 mph after the drivers rode side-by-side across all four northbound lanes of I-495 in Virginia. Police pulled the drivers over and warned them not to impede traffic.

"No summons/ticket was issued," police said in a statement. "The tractor-trailers were then allowed to proceed on their way," officials said in a news release, WUSA-TV reports.

Drivers had planned to occupy three lanes of Interstate 495, driving 55 mph, with the fourth lane kept clear for emergency vehicles and supporters. Only motorists displaying the group's Twitter hashtag on their vehicles were going to be allowed to pass, organizers said, adding that the protest would be peaceful and lawful.

Redflagnews.com reported in an article posted on Thursday that a Department of Transportation source said President Barack Obama would be calling in troops to block the protest. The article stated: “The National Guard resources to be used to thwart the truckers will include rifle toting National Guardsmen called up from units that will be coming in from Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. They will use Guardsmen on foot and using trucks, jeeps and armored vehicles, which will be stationed at all entrance ramps to the Beltway to block incoming traffic starting early Friday morning.”

That statement was later reported to be false.

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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