The “Freedom Convoy” anti-vaxxer protest in Ottawa, described by law enforcement as a siege, is inspiring similar acts around the world. New Zealand is already dealing with its own convoy situation, and the United States could be next. The Department of Homeland Security just issued a warning about the upcoming Super Bowl in Los Angeles possibly being targeted with truck-related protests about vaccine mandates, but stressed that they could not find any concrete plans for it. LCRW researchers have found evidence of the prospective California truck convoy over the past few months. There are two flyers doing the rounds for right wing demonstrations at the Super Bowl, with one of the flyers explicitly claiming collaboration with some kind of “Freedom Convoy” offshoot for the United States and the other focusing on false allegations of human trafficking increases during the Super Bowl.
One massive Telegram group chat with over 600 participants focused on providing support and aid to a potential California convoy. One of the most active administrators of this group chat is Ryan Sanchez, who goes by Culture War Criminal. Sanchez is a known neo-Nazi with ties to RAM (Rise Above Movement) and who regularly streams as part of the extended network of “America First” influencers led by holocaust denier Nick Fuentes. Sanchez hopes to see the trucker convoy in Los Angeles starting at the Super Bowl get to Washington D.C. The Department of Homeland Security thinks this is a viable strategy, saying “the group intends to start in California as early as mid-February and travel to Washington, D.C., as late as mid-March, reportedly gathering truckers as they travel across the country.”
This isn’t the first time the far-right has tried such tactics. In 2020 during the beginning of the pandemic, “Operation Gridlock,” organized largely on Telegram, shut down traffic in front of the capitol building in Lansing, Michigan. The more recent echoes of January 6th and the Ottawa siege are loud and clear. Federal agencies are currently scrambling to figure out what to do if this far-right unrest hits the capital of the United States (again) just like it has in Canada.
On Wednesday night, Sanchez and fellow convoy supporters reportedly held a private “urgent planning meeting” at an undisclosed location in Huntington Beach. Sanchez posted photos from the alleged meeting in their Telegram chatroom with faces digitally censored. According to Sanchez: “We will be joined by a USA Truck Convoy at the Super. Bowl. We might march later and meet with an anti-human trafficking group a few streets over.”
Sanchez then praised their security team for allegedly “ejecting the agents provocateurs” at the meeting.
The Department of Homeland Security seems to be taking this threat seriously. Their warning said that “the convoy could severely disrupt transportation, federal government, and law enforcement operations through gridlock and potential counterprotests” if it proceeds. It’s important to note that far-right extremists often exaggerate their strength and numbers, but the buzz about the convoy has grown too loud to ignore. In the coming days, we’ll see if this plan can muster the momentum to truly materialize.
VISHAL P. SINGH
Vishal P. Singh (They/He) tracks police brutality and right wing extremism in Southern California. They often report live in the L.A. area and beyond. You can tip them for their work at @vishalsinghfilms on Venmo.
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