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Thousand-vehicle protest convoy plans to circle the D.C. Beltway twice per day

A convoy protesting COVID-19 restrictions and mandates began moving toward Washington, D.C., at around 9:30 a.m. EST Sunday and plans to circle the Capital Beltway twice per day, local radio station WTOP reports.

D.C.'s emergency alert service posted on Twitter at around 11 a.m. that the protest "will begin to disrupt travel on roadways in and around the National Capital Region" and that "the majority of this activity is expected to occur on the beltway, but could disrupt other areas."

About 1,000 vehicles from across the country reportedly gathered in Hagerstown, Maryland, about an hour's drive from downtown Washington, by Saturday night, according to The New York Times.

Brian Brase, an organizer of the "People's Convoy," told The Washington Post that the convoy will not attempt to "shut D.C. down."

The Canadian Freedom Convoy, which inspired this weekend's protest, occupied downtown Ottawa for three weeks before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the country's Emergencies Act to break up the demonstrations.

One convoy spokesperson told WTOP that the convoy does not plan to enter Washington proper and that protesters will return to Hagerstown, where they have been using the large parking lot at Hagerstown Speedway as a staging area.

At least one trucker, however, plans to go all the way to Capitol Hill. "[T]hat flag on the back of my truck will go down to Constitution Avenue between the White House and the Washington Monument," the man, who identified himself as the "lead trucker," told Reuters.