56°F
weather icon Mostly Cloudy

Truckers to launch COVID-19 protest convoy from Southern California this week

Updated February 22, 2022 - 7:01 am

A group of truckers and other motorists opposed to COVID-19-related government policies announced this weekend that they would start a cross-country protest about three hours from Las Vegas.

After departing Wednesday from Adelanto Stadium and Event Center near Victorville, California, “The People’s Convoy,” is scheduled to stop in Kingman, Arizona, which is about a 100-mile drive from Las Vegas.

The 11-day event is scheduled to end March 5 in Washington, D.C.

“END MANDATES EVERYWHERE,” the group wrote on its website a little more than a week after Nevada’s mask mandate was lifted. Similar mandates across the country have also been eased or lifted in recent weeks.

After an overnight stay in Kingman on Wednesday, the convoy plans to head to Lupton, Arizona, about a 400-mile drive from Las Vegas.

Organizers intend for a peaceful event, arguing that mask and vaccine mandates are unconstitutional and calling for the federal government to pull back on a national state of emergency regarding the pandemic.

A similar convoy led to protests, disturbances and arrests in Ottawa, Canada, where the busiest U.S.-Canada border was shut down for nearly a week. The movement inspired similar convoys in France, New Zealand and the Netherlands.

“To our brave and courageous neighbors to the North — our Canadian brothers and sisters who led the charge — we join your call to Freedom with THE PEOPLE’S CONVOY,” the group wrote.

Federal emergency powers should have been “revoked” a few weeks into the pandemic, organizer Mike Landis said in a video on the group’s website.

The “people in power don’t care about ‘we the people,’” Landis said.

“(They) are getting rich off this pandemic that could’ve been solved three weeks in. Here we are two years later,” said Landis, adding that scientists had already come up with COVID-19 vaccines.

In the video, Landis advocated for freedom of choice but said the COVID-19 vaccines have not been proven to be safe.

“People are dying senselessly from not either receiving the correct treatment or from receiving the vaccine that’s not proven yet,” he said. “And that’s just science. Me personally, it’s up to you; you want a vaccine, take it.”

“That’s the whole point of this, it’s about freedom, your freedom to choose what you feel is best for your life, within the morals and the guidelines of our constitution,” Landis said.

Inoculation against COVID-19 has been proven safe and highly effective in deterring serious illness and death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. The coronavirus has killed nearly 6 million people across the globe, and more than 933,000 in the U.S., according to the World Health Organization’s website.

Emails seeking further comment were not returned.

It was not clear from the group’s website how many participants had signed up. The group posted that it had raised more than $165,000 as of Sunday afternoon through a fundraiser hosted by a nonprofit group named “American Foundation for Civil Liberties &Freedom.”

A map of the convoy’s destination did not specify which highways drivers planned to use but suggested that the truckers would drive on Interstate 40 to Arizona. The trip is scheduled to make its way through states such as Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana before it continues to Maryland.

The convoy drew messages of support from Republican gubernatorial candidates in Nevada. Reno lawyer Joey Gilbert will join the convoy kickoff event in California on Wednesday.

North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee said the truckers have his full support and that he admires their passion.

“Government mandates are not the answer — we have got to get back to normal, open up the economy and get folks back to work,” Lee said in a statement.

Former U.S. Sen. Dean Heller said in a statement that he is standing with the truckers.

“They’re taking a bold stand against oppressive bullies, whether it’s Justin Trudeau in Canada or Steve Sisolak here in Nevada,” Heller said. “I applaud these patriotic truck drivers.”

Reno-based venture capitalist Guy Nohra’s campaign said Nohra fully supports the truckers’ message of freedom and “stands with them in their fight against vaccine mandates.”

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo has no plans to be involved in the convoy, a campaign spokeswoman said.

And former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, a Republican seeking his party’s nomination to run in the general election for U.S. Senate, released a brief statement: “We love our truckers.”

Attempts to reach the California Highway Patrol, Nevada Highway Patrol, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and Mohave County Sheriff’s Office were unsuccessful. The FBI declined to comment.

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com. Follow @rickytwrites on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writers Blake Apgar and Bill Dentzer contributed to this story.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Harvard’s interim president slams university groups for antisemitic cartoon

The firm response from Alan Garber signals a different tone from Claudine Gay, who as president didn’t respond for days to a letter posted by more than 30 student groups who blamed the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack solely on Israel.

Colorado man dies after a pet Gila monster bite

A Colorado man has died after being bitten by his pet Gila monster in what would be a rare death by one of the desert lizards if the creature’s venom turns out to have been the cause.