[UPDATE 10/11/13 10:40 a.m. EST: The trucker protest appeared to be underway Friday morning when about 30 big rigs gathered along the D.C. Beltway. Check back here for more updates.]
About 3,000 truck drivers are organizing to rally their big rigs along the Capital Beltway (Interstate 495) in Washington, D.C., this weekend in a protest called the "Ride for the Constitution" in response to the government shutdown and their disapproval of political leaders. However, the trucker protest which has been using the hashtag #T2SDA, an acronym for "Truckers to Shut Down America," may actually be a hoax.
News of the trucker protest spread on Monday after U.S. News & World Report spoke with Earl Conlon, a Georgia trucker "handling logistics" for the three-day protest, slated to begin on the morning of Oct. 11. According to Conlon and others participating, truckers will clog the inner loop of the Beltway and circle I-495 at the 55mph speed limit "to seek the arrest of congressmen for allegedly disregarding the Constitution."
"It's going to be real fun for anyone who is not a supporter," Conlon told U.S. News & World Report. "If cops decide to give us a hard time, we're going to lock the brakes up, we're going to stop right there, we're going to be a three-lane roadblock."
While some of those participating reportedly seek the impeachment of U.S. President Barack Obama, Conlon said the truckers are "not asking for impeachment" but are hoping to create a citizens grand jury to try officials.
"We're asking for the arrest of everyone in government who has violated their oath of office," he said.
Despite nearly 93,000 "likes" on the "Truckers Ride for the Constitution" Facebook page -- which declares a "GENERAL STRIKE on the weekend of October 11-13, 2013! Truck drivers will not haul freight! Americans can strike in solidarity with truck drivers," the Washington Post declared the entire T2SDA trucker protest a hoax after Conlon retracted the comments he gave to U.S. News.
“The comments to U.S. News were designed to do one thing and one thing only: stir the feather of the mainstream media,” he told the Washington Post. “Nothing gets the attention of the mainstream media like some sort of disastrous threat. I knew it was going to ruffle some feathers.”
Conlon said that while he is not sure if he will even be traveling to Washington on Friday to protest, other truckers may honk their horns on the Beltway but won't "intentionally shut down traffic."
"It would not be right to go to D.C. to lock down the city by the Belt loop,” he said. “That wouldn’t be fair to the people there.”
Conlon spoke with the Washington Post on Tuesday, but on Monday night, according to USA Today, the "Truckers Ride for the Constitution" Facebook page released a statement about the article that broke the news and denounced Conlon.
"Folks, here's the entire scoop on U.S. News & World Report attempting to get a sensational title from someone not authorized to speak on behalf of all peaceful protesters. As we approach the event, this is what we can expect from the [mainstream media] and potential saboteurs --- but NOTHING will stop us!" the statement read.
Real or not, the authorities have been alerted about the rally and will be ready, Politico reported. A spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police and a spokesman for the Maryland State Police said in separate statements that they were aware of the protests and will not interfere as long as the protesters keep within the law.
Two major trucking industry organizations, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the American Trucking Associations, even said they will not participate in the trucker protest slated for Friday. Both added that the truckers involved are not affiliated nor are sponsored or endorsed by the organizations.
Meanwhile in another rally in D.C., on Wednesday, at least eight House Democrats were arrested along with others during a pro-immigration rally on the National Mall in Washington. According to reports, those arrested were charged with "crowding, obstructing and incommoding."