Truckers threaten DC traffic to protest government shutdown - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Truckers plan DC traffic slowdown to protest shutdown

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(Source: MGN Online) (Source: MGN Online)

(RNN) – Truckers from across America are planning a shutdown of their own this weekend - a traffic shutdown of the nation's capital to protest what they call government overreach.

The group Truckers Ride for the Constitution is calling for big rig drivers to clog the arteries of Washington, DC, Friday through Sunday, calling it a "gas roots" effort to remind politicians they "work for the people and by the people," according to its Facebook page.

"The average American feels hopeless, they feel they cannot make a change; we want to empower them that they can make a change," organizer Zeeda Andrews said Wednesday.

Group members say they're angry about a number of things, including low wages, high fuel prices, rising U.S. debt, the government shutdown and politicians who "decided to furlough American workers for their personal and political gain."

Andrews encouraged everyone – not just truckers – to participate by decorating their cars with flags or slogans. More than 1,000 people have RSVP'd to the event on Facebook.

A former country music singer who cites truckers as her biggest fans, Andrews described herself as "a normal every day American who works and struggles just like everybody else."

Earl Conlon, another trucker who spoke to media outlets about a similar protest, pledged tractor-trailers "three lanes deep" would block traffic but later declared it a hoax.

Andrews confirmed the event was still on. She said Conlon was a volunteer she spoke with to recruit drivers – but that's all.

"Earl has never been authorized as a spokesperson. As a matter of fact, he's not riding in the convoy," Andrews said.

Conlon advocated for the arrest of politicians who had not held up their oath, even hinting anyone could arrest a member of Congress.

"We are peaceful and lawful, and violence is not our example. This is a peaceful movement and we want everyone to get involved," Andrews said.

The protest isn't sitting well with those who live in the area.

"Feel free to protest, that is your right and mine as an American, but please think of the moms who cannot get their kids to soccer practice or the emergency vehicles who will not be able to get around because of this," one poster wrote on the group's Facebook page. "I live inside the beltway and I did not shut the government down. Please don't take me hostage."

Andrews said the convoy will only take up the right lane of the Capitol Beltway, which circles the city. The left lane will always be open, and traffic will be moving. The convoy also will not interfere with emergency vehicles. Virginia and Maryland state police representatives tell Politico they will monitor the situation.

Conservative radio host and conspiracy theorist Pete Santilli has been helping the group publicize the event. He said there will be some inconvenience for residents, but it's for a good cause.

"Tell those soccer moms they can go back and forth in their regular daily functions, but as a former Marine, I want to defend this country so that they have soccer game to go to," he said. "We got their backs."

Although both the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the American Trucking Associations have had issues with laws and regulations Congress has passed, the organizations say they are not participating in the protest.

"The Association has learned from its 40-year history of fighting for the rights of its members that the most effective way to have influence is to conduct long-term campaigns and encourage an open dialogue between truckers and their representatives in Congress," a news release reads on their website.

Copyright 2013 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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