Truckers start caravan against covid measures in the US

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Barstow (United States) (AFP) – Dozens of truckers and supporters started a caravan in California on Wednesday that plans to cross the United States in protest at the restrictive measures against the pandemic.

Shouting slogans against the sanitary measures, the truckers began the mobilization in Adelanto, in southern California.

They must travel more than 4,000 kilometers until they reach the Capital District on March 5.

“It’s time to reopen the country,” the organizers of the “People’s Caravan” said in a statement, inspired by the mobilization that recently paralyzed the Canadian capital.

In the early afternoon, the caravan reached the city of Barstow, about 60 kilometers away, where some residents waved American flags and applauded the drivers who honked as they passed.

“The foundation of America is freedom,” said Leslie, a supporter who greeted the caravan from a bridge.

Beside him, a banner called “Arrest [Anthony] Fauci”, the reference doctor of the White House in the matter of covid.

Although they claimed it was a non-partisan movement, pro-Donald Trump slogans abounded.

Similarly, the hundreds of people who gathered in the parking lot of the Adelanto stadium in the morning to fire the drivers carried banners questioning the victory of Democratic President Joe Biden, enunciating conspiracy theories about the origin of covid-19 and describing the federal government response of “attack on freedom”.

“Lock them in jail!” the crowd shouted during one of the speeches, referring to health authorities who have put in place measures to curb the spread of the virus, such as immunization, wearing masks and social distancing.

“Vaccines Failed”

Paul Alexander, health adviser during the administration of former president Donald Trump, and who favored herd immunization to face the pandemic, affirmed that “vaccines failed”, despite the fact that their effectiveness and safety have been proven by the international scientific community. as the main alternative to avoid deaths or more aggressive infections.

Flags are unfurled during a truckers rally before they begin a caravan to Washington to protest COVID-19 restrictions in Adelanto, California, on February 23, 2022.
Flags are unfurled during a truckers rally before they begin a caravan to Washington to protest COVID-19 restrictions in Adelanto, California, on February 23, 2022. Patrick T. FALLON AFP

The coronavirus has killed nearly a million people in the United States alone, where vaccines are widely available for free. But some sectors of the right detract from them, fueling conspiracy theories and the distrust of their followers.

In addition to this caravan, which promised to reach only the outskirts of Washington, and not the center of power in the United States, the portal “Great American Patriot Project” announced that several routes will leave during the first week of March with the same destination.

The organizers, who raised almost half a million dollars to finance the march, urged the protesters to act “peacefully”, however the authorities announced measures to reinforce security in Washington, where the memory of what happened on the 6th is still fresh. January 2021, when Trump supporters invaded the Capitol to try to prevent the certification of his rival’s election.

The Pentagon has approved the dispatch of 700 unarmed National Guardsmen, and local security forces have requested reinforcements, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.

“Let’s get back to normal”

A supporter of Donald Trump, Shane Class traveled from Idaho, 1,300 kilometers away, to participate in the caravan, and said he hopes to reach Washington with his wife and protest “peacefully.”

“I think we’re all here for a different reason, but it boils down to the same thing: Freedom,” said Class, 48, who wrote “Legalize Freedom” on his car.

“Let’s go back to normal,” Bryan Brase, one of the truckers at the head of the caravan, asked for his part.

“We are protesting (against) the states of emergency that have been decreed and we hope to end all the mask and vaccination decrees for federal employees and health workers,” he added.

“For me it’s because of the vaccine decree, but it’s bigger than that,” said a Los Angeles nurse who did not want to be identified.

“I can’t work at my health center without filing a religious exception [para no ser vacunada]”added the young woman who traveled two hours to Adelanto with her husband.

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