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Dozens of big-rig drivers and long-haul truckers took to the highways around Washington, D.C., Friday to protest what they describe as extra-constitutional actions of Congress and the president, launching a weekend of similar demonstrations.
CBS reported that at one point truckers were side-by-side across four lanes of Interstate 95 and were blocking traffic until a Virginia State Police officer pulled them over.
After talking with the officer, the truckers resumed driving at a speed of about 40 mph, up from the 10 mph they had been going, the report said.
The truckers met at a travel plaza near Doswell, Va., to launch their protest on the Capital Beltway of what they view as an out of control government.
WTVR-TV in Richmond, Va., reported police said as long as the truckers follow the law, there will be no intervention.
The station sent a reporter to a truck stop used as a staging area and came away with a few pointed comments about Washington politics.
"The way Congress is doing, they've basically throwed our Constitution in the trash," Alabama trucker Brad Higgins told the station.
Stanley Levy of Ohio said: "Every time I turn around, I’m paying taxes, taxes, taxes, taxes, taxes. Come on, we're 17 trillion dollars in debt – it's like a credit card."
And Tom Null from Indiana told the station: "We're going to participate in the demonstration around the beltway in D.C. We just want to let government know that we're tired of them doing unconstitutional things constantly. We don't like the way the banking is going, with the Fed printing $85 billion dollars every month, diluting our money. My tires are costing 500 bucks apiece now."
It's just the latest in a series of citizen protests in Washington to try to get the attention of President Obama and Congress amid inside-the-beltway fights over Obamacare, funding the military, the administration's shutdown of national parks, the poor economy and other issues.
A group called "2 Million Bikers to D.C.," that held a Sept. 11 rally in Washington voiced its support for the "Truckers to Shut Down America," which also has been called "Ride for the Constitution," in a statement on its Facebook page.
The bikers also plan to join a rally by vets in Washington, the "Million Vet March on the Memorials, which is set for Sunday.
An Internet service detailing information about commutes in Washington reported there had been several accidents and delays but no major closures or other impacts.
A trucker from Georgia told WND that members of Congress are not keeping their oath of office to protect the nation and the Constitution.
"If they refused to obey their oath and uphold the law we the people would find a way," said Earl Conlon. "What is important is that the truckers and patriot's voices get heard."
Online, the bikers group pointed out that without truckers, consumers would have nothing.
They wrote: "If you own it – a trucker brought it to where you could buy it. If you have a garden the seed for that garden came by truck. The only thing the truck didn’t deliver was the plot of ground."
The truckers' eventwas organized loosely on Facebook pages. Sympathetic demonstrations also were planned in other parts of the country for those unable to make the drive to Washington.
Supporters expected several thousand trucks in Washington, which because of the size of the mostly 18-wheelers could create a significant impact on Washington traffic.
One of the Facebook pages had more than 123,000 "likes."
"Truckers Ride for the Constitution" co-organizer Benn Pam believes that the convergence of three rallies in D.C. on the same weekend could make things interesting.
"It is about to hit the fan in big chunks. '2 Million Bikers to D.C.' is organizing for a protective detail for WWII veterans to monuments," Pam said.
Pam added that it's time for the American people to make their will known.
"The United States is now a dictatorship, ruled by the decrees of one man. Spy agencies dominate the government and the people. There is no rule of law. The Constitution is shredded," Pam said. "It's time to rise up."
A reporter filed a phone report on Friday's convoy:
Earlier, the "Million Vet March on the Memorials" was announced for Sunday at 9 a.m. Eastern at the World War II memorial on the National Mall, the location where rangers under orders from the White House tried, unsuccessfully, to prevent vets from visiting.
The announcement said the group Special Operations Speaks is organizing the rally because the Obama administration "is using the government shutdown as an excuse to keep our veterans from acknowledging the debt owed to them and their predecessors."
"This is unforgivable. It is also unjustified, as no taxpayer funds are spent by keeping these shrines open. We will open them ourselves, if that’s what it takes," said the group, founded by former Navy SEAL Larry Bailey.
"We know that there may be some degree of confrontation, given the anti-military attitude of the administration. It is our intention to avoid confrontation, and we request that you join us in avoiding any kind of physical contact with park rangers, police, or other law-enforcement personnel. Give them no excuse to hijack the moment." the organization said.
On its website, there was no waffling about the blame, however.
"In a mean-spirited fit of selfish anger, Barack Obama has shut down our nation's war memorials. And he has declared open war on our honored veterans!" the website says. "The World War II memorial … the Vietnam Veterans Memorial … the Korean War Veterans Memorial – Obama has shut them all down to force his will on the House of Representatives and frankly, to get revenge on the American people who oppose Obamacare and his other naked power grabs."
The message to veterans continued: "Let's put it plainly: Barack Obama is behaving like a vicious tyrant. And if he succeeds in this assault on the democratic system, the republic we love is at mortal risk. It’s just that simple."
Two actions are urged, to sign a petition demanding the opening of the memorials and attendance at the rally.
Scheduled to speak is Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee who is helping lead the investigation of the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi.
"Americans have had enough of this shoddy treatment of those who saved our country from tyranny," said Belinda Bee, organizer of "2 Million Bikers to D.C." "These are men in their 80s and 90s. They can't come back next month or next year. This is their chance to share in this American experience dedicated to their heroism. And yet, this administration was willing to lock them out of a memorial that normally is unguarded in an attempt to score political points. We, the leadership of '2 Million Bikers To DC,' urge you to join in this important rally."
The previous rally by bikers took over the city on the same day an event billed as the "Million Muslim March" was to be held. Muslims renamed it the "Million American March Against Fear," but only a few dozen people appeared.
Instead, the city was taken over by bikers exhibiting their patriotism and displeasure with Washington.
Mark Segraves of the NBC affiliate in Washington reported at midday Sept. 11 that only "about 25 people," including activist Cornel West, were at the Muslim march, with a group of Christians about the same size nearby.
In a video interview with MRCTV, the Muslim march organizers would not fault Muslims for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks:
However, the counter-protest by bikers, on Sept. 11, was in evidence everywhere.
Driving in from Canada and from all over the United States, the bikers, who were denied a permit for their demonstration, were flooding the capital.
At approximately 1 p.m., "2 Million Bikers to DC" Facebook page co-founder Belinda Bee posted that police had counted nearly 1 million bikers are on the streets of Washington.
The American Muslim Political Action Committee originally planned the Muslims' march and ended up facing criticism for scheduling it on the anniversary of 9/11.
But organizers insisted the name was changed because many non-Muslim Americans "are terrified of Muslims, who are portrayed by Hollywood and the US media as fanatical terrorists."
AMPAC also claims Muslims, too, "live in fear – of being dragged off in the night to Guantanamo and tortured, simply for the crime of being Muslim in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Organizers refused to change the date of the march, which marked 12 years since the attack by 19 Muslims on New York City and Washington.
"September 11th, 2001 was the beginning of a new era of fear," the organizers insisted. "Since 9/11, Americans have been terrorized by the media."
The bikers, meanwhile, have stated their opposition to Obama's push to "fundamentally transform" the U.S.
Radio giant Rush Limbaugh said Sept. 11 the American public as a whole did not understand what Obama was intending to do when he campaigned in 2008 with that remark.
"They had no idea that fundamentally transforming the United States of America meant turning the Constitution of the United States on its head," Limbaugh said.
"They had no idea that transforming the United States of America meant getting rid of capitalism and replacing it with socialism. They had no idea that it meant co-opting one-sixth of the U.S. economy by the government, the health-care business. They had no idea what Obama was promising. They thought they knew, but they didn't. Some of them may now not even know, but the bikers in D.C. know – and knew."