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Trucker convoy to arrive in D.C. this weekend

Truckers and other demonstrators seeking an end to COVID-19 restrictions and mandates plan to descend on Washington, D.C., this weekend, the city's NBC affiliate reports.

Hundreds of vehicles reportedly massed in Hagerstown, Maryland, about an hour's drive from Capitol Hill, on Friday. A Facebook group for the "People's Convoy" has over 300,000 members.

According to CNN, organizers said the protest will be "lawful" and will "terminate in the vicinity of the D.C. area, but will not be going into D.C. proper." Nevertheless, local officials warn that the protest will likely disrupt traffic around D.C. during the weekend.

CNN notes that COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths have dropped sharply in the past week as the Omicron wave subsided, and that "mask mandates and vaccine passport rules have been dropping around the country." D.C. lifted its vaccine mandate on Feb. 15 and its mask mandate on March 1.

The protest is modeled on the Canadian Freedom Convoy that occupied downtown Ottawa for three weeks last month and shut down several border crossings. According to data that leaked during the protests, about half of the donors to the Freedom Convoy were Americans.

The demonstrations in Ottawa were broken up after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked his country's Emergencies Act on Feb. 14, resulting in nearly 200 arrests in a single weekend.

Similar convoys formed in France, Belgium, and New Zealand.