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Maryland State Police Say They Are Aware Of Planned Trucker Convoy Calling For Reopening Of Country

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Maryland State Police say they are aware of protests planned by truckers calling for the reopening of the country that's set to arrive in the Washington D.C. area next month.

Michael Ricci, a spokesperson with Gov. Larry Hogan's office, released the statement from the agency, saying police are aware of the protests and will be "monitoring the situation throughout the country."

"State police are coordinating with public safety partners in neighboring states and will be ready to respond appropriately with adequate resources to ensure the free flow of traffic throughout the routes of travel," police said.

The People's Convoy, a group behind one of the protests, is calling for an end to pandemic-related health protocols.

"With the advent of the vaccine and workable therapeutic agents, along with the hard work of so many sectors that contributed to declining COVID-19 cases and severity of illness, it is now time to re-open the country," the group said in a press release. "The average American worker needs to be able to end-run the economic hardships of the last two years, and get back to the business of making bread – so they can pay their rents and mortgages and help jumpstart this economy."

Truckers WJZ spoke with said they're looking to make their voices heard.

"We have no union we have no representation for people to stand for all the other truck drivers," said Nehat Ismani, a trucker of five years. "I'm hoping they do go out there, I'm hoping they stand there as long as they could until they run their diesel tanks empty, just to get that point across. Let them know we're here to help the country out."

Ismani said he can't afford to take a week off to protest, but he hopes others do.

A separate convoy was organized by Bob Bolus, the owner of a Scranton-area truck parts and towing business, according to Washington D.C.'s WTTG.

"We will be along the beltway, where the beltway will be shut down," Bolus told WTTG. "If they can't get to work, jeez that's too bad."

The People's Convoy was scheduled to set out from Adelanto, California on Feb. 23, making multiple stops before reaching Hagerstown, Maryland by the evening of March 4.

On March 5, the convoy plans to leave from Hagerstown and arrive in the area of I-495. The route across the nation is subject to change. Organizers said the convoy will not go into Washington, D.C.

Bolus' convoy, meanwhile, did not generate much traction, according to PennLive. Speaking to the outlet, Bolus attributed the lack of turnout to people having "work to do."

The news comes after Canadian authorities arrested two leaders behind a trucker protest in that country.

Demonstrators there have held weeks of protests and blockades against COVID-19 protocols.

Correction: A previous version of this story did not acknowledge that there were multiple convoys planned in protest of pandemic-related safety measures. WJZ regrets the error.

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