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Fence around Capitol precaution against trucker disruption

Federal law enforcement in Washington on Sunday approved a plan to install a security fence around the U.S. Capitol in response to planned trucker demonstrations during and after President Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday.

“In light of the upcoming State of the Union address and the possibility of demonstrations in the next couple of weeks, we have been working closely with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners on a security plan to prevent any disruption to the important work of Congress,” said U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger in a statement.

“Out of an abundance of caution, and in conjunction with the United States Secret Service, a plan has been approved to put up the inner-perimeter fence around the Capitol building for the State of the Union address. I have also requested support from outside law enforcement agencies as well as the National Guard to assist with our security precautions. We will continue to update the community about any information that may impact the roads around Capitol Hill.”

In response, Rep. Eleanor Holmes North, D-D.C., who led efforts to take down temporary fencing installed around the Capitol after the Jan. 6, 2021, riots, said she understands the reason for reinstalling the fencing in light of concerns about potential disruption caused by the various trucker convoys making their way to Washington.

“However, I will ensure that the fencing comes down as soon as possible to restore freedom of movement for District of Columbia residents and the general public,” Norton said.

As of Sunday, the People’s Convoy, a group scheduled to arrive after the State of the Union, has raised $1.5 million in donations, according to its website.

The People’s Convoy is inspired by the trucker protests in Ottawa, Ontario, against cross-border vaccine mandates. Mike Landis, one of the convoy’s representatives, said the group is demonstrating against the National Emergencies Act signed by President Trump in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and continued by President Biden in February 2021.

“What we aim to do is get this revoked,” Landis said in a video on the group’s website. “There’s no need for it. We want this government to bring back the Constitution.”

Click for more FreightWaves articles by John Gallagher.