While protestors with the “Truckers Ride For The Constitution” continue their steady journey around the I-495 beltway near Washington, D.C., spokesmen from the Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania National Guards have said units have not been called to step in as some media has speculated.
“We have not received any requests for assistance for the state highway,” Maryland National Guard Spokesman Lt. Charles Kohler told The Trucker.
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.”
Kohler said that statement is false.
“The state police would be the ones requesting our assistance for that type of mission,” Kohler said, adding, “Nor do we anticipate getting that request for that mission; it hasn’t even been discussed or thought of.”
Kohler said he fielded “a lot” of angry calls Thursday from people who believed the report that the guard was going to interfere with the protest. He also said truckers were calling to find out how to avoid being caught up in the protest.
“I had a couple of truckers who actually did call me wondering about their route, if they should avoid the D.C. area as part of their route today,” Kohler said. “I don’t think they were participating in the protest, just running their route.”
Virginia Army National Guard spokesman Cotton Puryear also echoed Kohler’s statement in an e-mail: “The Virginia National Guard has not received any requests for assistance or directives to stage personnel and equipment for possible duty related to the ‘Truckers Ride For The Constitution.’ We are monitoring the situation and could provide support if directed by the Governor of Virginia, but at no time have there been any plans for any Virginia National Guard support related to the event.”
An official with the Pennsylvania National Guard also said they have gotten no orders to interfere with the protest.
Department of Transportation officials did not return calls or emails from The Trucker for comment.
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