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Keller @ Large: Truck Convoys In US Try To Imitate Success Of Canadian Protests

BOSTON (CBS) - A group of truckers hit the road from Adelanto, California, today en route to Washington D.C. in an effort to capture the energy and publicity generated by the recent Canadian trucker protests against pandemic mandates and restrictions.

The rhetoric may be vague at times: "They're taking everything away from us, one at a time, and it has to stop," said one trucker. And their "facts" may be dubious: "A lot of people have died from COVID, and many more have died from the policies that were put in place to handle COVID," claimed a California convoy organizer.

But their Canadian counterparts turned that country's political establishment upside down. And here in the U.S., the goal is similar - draw publicity by snarling D.C. traffic ahead of next Tuesday's State of the Union speech.

So far it's shaping up to be a pale imitation, perhaps because it coincides with widespread relaxation of COVID-19 rules.

A Pennsylvania man organizing a convoy predicted 10,000 vehicles might join him; only a handful showed up. Another protest at the Missouri Statehouse was also a bust.

What about here?

A Facebook page set up to promote a Northeast Freedom Convoy shows little recent activity. Boston police tell WBZ-TV they've heard nothing about potential activity here.

Still, back in D.C., Capitol officials have warned staffers to "anticipate that these convoys may cause higher than normal traffic volumes and possible transportation disruptions." And 700 unarmed National Guard troops will be deployed for traffic control duty.

After all the hype about the Canadian truck protests coming here next, could it turn out a fizzle? We're about to find out.

But even if it is, is that a sure sign that the Canadian protests were a flash in the pan?

It would be a mistake to think that. The lesson of what happened in Canada and from the anti-mandate activism here in Boston is that people can cheaply and easily use the Internet to tap into anger and frustration and turn it into damaging, effective protest.

Maybe the pandemic is fading as a trigger, but the blueprint is there for the next one that comes along.

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