The People’s Convoy vowed to do more than just endlessly circle Washington D.C.’s Beltway in urine-soaked jeans when they returned to their base camp at Hagerstown Speedway in Maryland on Wednesday. But instead of somehow sneaking two dozen or so semi trucks into one of the most heavily monitored cities on Earth, members devolved into fist fights, animal abuse and accusations.
Update: Saturday, May 21, 2022 7:35 a.m. EST - People’s Convoy supporters were not thrilled with last night’s declaration of success from their leaders. Members accosted the luxury RV leaders were hiding out in and demanded Maryland police arrest leaders for fraud, according to the Daily Beast:
At around 8 p.m. Maryland State Troopers arrived at the Hagerstown Speedway to convoy-goers yelling “squatters’ rights!” After speaking with Coleman, Summers, and other co-organizers in the RV, a state trooper told angry convoy supporters that there was no financial contract with the speedway and that they would have to leave the property within hours. “We would like to press charges,” convoy-goers yelled back, seeking to begin a legal endeavor against convoy leaders—including Coleman and Summers—over alleged “fraud.” “Arrest them for fucking fraud,” another supporter yelled out.
Update: Friday May 20, 2022 9:30 p.m. EST - The People’s Convoy has decided to declare victory and, having nothing left to accomplish, pack it up and go home, according to the Daily Beast:
“As of 2:30 pm EST today, May 20, 2022, The People’s Convoy declares victory and announces its conclusion of the national convoy portion of this great movement. Any convoy and protest activity from this time forward is done on an individual basis and is not representing The People’s Convoy,” the group wrote in a press release. “We will be exiting Hagerstown Speedway within 7 days.”
Washingtonians hoped they’d seen the last of the People’s Convoy when it was chased out of town in late March by rude hand gestures and a slow bicycle rider. Since leaving the capital, the Convoy has traveled far and wide, including to California — where they unknowingly cheered the passage of a bill they opposed because they didn’t understand the words lawmakers were saying — and Oregon, where members fired guns at kids throwing eggs and paint-filled balloons.
It’s difficult to parse out precisely what’s been going on since the Convoy’s streams went dark on orders from the convoy’s leader, David Riddell aka “Santa.” Wednesday, truckers looped the Beltway again, which Riddell claimed was a covert mission to scout out a route into the city. Thursday was supposed to be go-time. From the Daily Beast:
“Get ready to move in about 15-20 minutes when I tell you to,” convoy leader David Riddell, aka “Santa,” told fellow convoy-goers on Wednesday night as the sun went down over their Hagerstown, Maryland encampment. “Be back here at four o’clock in the afternoon [on Thursday] and be ready to roll at a moment’s notice.”
“You guys are the new minutemen. When we roll out of here at night, [there] will be complete and total radio silence,” he continued. “There will be five people that know what we’re doing and know the route we are taking.”
Riddell is the newly appointed convoy leader after Brian Brase bailed on the group to return to his home in Northern Ohio. “Complete and total radio silence,” the new leader emphasized once more, demanding that as part of this silent blitzkrieg his fellow convoy truckers—who have incessantly livestreamed their activity—cut their feeds when they travel into D.C. on Thursday.
The People’s Convoy members, though, can’t help being chatty. The Daily Beast’s Convoy correspondent (and politics and media reporter) Zachary Petrizzo may have figured out what the original plan was going to look like:
A line of about two dozen semis and 100 passenger vehicles formed around 4:30 in the afternoon Thursday, but there was no roll-out. Instead, we have... this: A mess of a livestream, where convoy members confront each other after one punches another in the face. The victim’s wife began livestreaming the argument immediately after the punch was thrown. On the stream, we hear people talk about a lot of truly messed-up stuff allegedly going on within the Convoy: A cat being hung from another member’s truck (the cat is apparently OK), sexual assault, and messages written in blood in front of a casino. As icing on the cake, a so-called “security” member calls the woman recording the stream a homophobic slur:
Many of the streamers have spent their hours on the road talking about how much love is felt between Convoy members thanks to their shared mission. But we’ve seen shootings, attacks, threats and rampant paranoia come out of the Convoy. With COVID-19 mandates falling all over the country and diesel prices breaking records, the pointlessness of this mess is becoming more and more apparent to everyone — save for the convoy members themselves.
This isn’t political activism. It’s an anger-filled cross-country vacation fueled by the worst vibes imaginable.