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As the so-called Freedom Convoy that converged on Ottawa, Canada, last month was broken up by police over the weekend, Washington, D.C., appears to be preparing for thousands of truckers who plan to descend on the U.S. capital in the coming days.
State and local law enforcement have called in support from the National Guard In anticipation of the massive convoy in the D.C. area between late February and late March, a government source told Fox News on Tuesday.
The truckers have requested a permit from the National Park Service to allow 1,000 to 3,000 to gather in the nation’s capital, according to the source. National guard troops will deploy beginning Tuesday and remain in place until the end of March.
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said in a statement that the department has received a request for assistance from the U.S. Capitol Police and the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency.
“Those agencies have asked for National Guard personnel to provide support at traffic control points in and around the District to help the USCP and DC government address potential challenges stemming from possible disruptions at key traffic arteries,” Kirby said. “No decisions have been made yet to approve these requests.”
Two tow trucks were spotted early Tuesday parked along the D.C.’s National Mall at 7th and D Street and at 12th and C Street Southwest. The owner of the towing company told Fox News via phone that the city of D.C. hired them for “public work” that could last up to 10 days.
The owner said they were specifically hired ahead of the trucking protest, and they’ve been instructed to clear any vehicles that illegally block the D.C. streets. He said they have no idea when the truckers might arrive.
Fox News Digital reached out to Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office and the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department to confirm what preparations are being made.
State and local law enforcement have so far been unable to secure the necessary number of tow trucks to clear the anticipated tractor-trailers, according to the government source, so the National Guard will create strategic road blocks throughout D.C.
On Sunday, FOX5 DC interviewed Bob Bolus, an organizer of the coming D.C. convoy.
Bolus, who owns a truck parts and towing business in Scranton, Pennsylvania, told the station that he heard hundreds of people were interested in taking part in shutting down the Capital Beltway in protest of wide-ranging issues such as fuel prices, vaccine requirements and immigration.
“I’ll give you an analogy of that of a giant boa constrictor,” Bolus said. “That basically squeezes you, chokes you and it swallows you, and that’s what we’re going to do the D.C.”
Bolus, who the station reported is a longtime supporter of former President Trump, said that the protest will leave a lane open for emergency vehicles for safety, but he couldn’t promise that commuters would make it to work on time.
The caravan comes as a similar demonstration involving truckers, dubbed the Freedom Convoy, shut down Ottawa, Canada, in protest of the country’s COVID-19 mandates.
Ottawa police began securing the city’s downtown over the weekend as the three-week standoff reached a boiling point between law enforcement and demonstrators.
Authorities there had arrested 191 people and filed 389 charges, police announced mid-afternoon Sunday. They had also towed 99 vehicles.
Ottawa police said officers continued to remove straggling protesters and secure other parts of downtown area on Monday. Authorities said in an update that there will be an increased police presence in the area and checkpoints will remain in place this week to ensure “unlawful protesters do not return.”
Meanwhile, law enforcement in the D.C. area told the station that police are aware of the possible protest.
Police have already limited time off for officers, putting nearly 500 officers on civil disturbance units daily beginning Wednesday, and were communicating with local, state and federal partners, the station reported.
Fox News’ Gillian Turner and Ashley Cozzolino contributed to this report.