The head of the New Jersey State Police said Wednesday that if trucks convoying on Garden State highways next weekend purposely stop, they could be towed from interstate roads.
Truckers protesting COVID-19 vaccine mandates, inspired by the recent truck protest gridlock in Ottawa, Canada’s capital, are planning to travel through New Jersey on March 5 and 6, on their way to Washington, D.C,. for a national trucker rally.
Organizers in New Jersey plan their own rallies each day, in Plumsted and Woodstown, to welcome and send off the truckers.
State Police Col. Patrick Callahan said the agency does not want slow moving vehicles, but if truckers come to a complete stop, that presents a “different scenario.”
“They will be ordered to keep moving,” Callahan said to a reporter’s question at the Gov. Phil Murphy’s latest coronavirus briefing in Trenton.
“We hope it doesn’t come to that,” Callahan said. “I would hope that we don’t have to use our heavy duty wreckers.”
“It’s one thing to rally and travel on our interstates and to get to a certain rally point. Where they go (when they) leave New Jersey is obviously up to them,” he said.
The agency is planning, he said, “for a scenario where we would have heavy duty wreckers standing by to tow them at their expense off our interstates.”
The agency continues to monitor the convoys with several partner law enforcement agencies, Callahan said.
Jackie Thomas, a trucker organizer in New Jersey, told NJ 101.5 that no blockades are planned.
“We do not plan on doing anything that would hurt anybody. It’s peaceful. We’re just trying to put an end to some of the things that are, we feel, jeopardizing our freedom,” Thomas, of Morris County, told the outlet.
The convoy, according to organizers on Facebook, have north and south routes. The north route starts in Mahwah and proceeds on Route 17 south to interstates 287, 295 and 195 and concludes with a welcome rally at the New Egypt Speedway in Plumsted.
The next day, the truckers plan to travel south on Interstate 295, while others leave from Galloway on Route 40 east, and meet up at a send-off rally at the Salem County Fair property in Woodstown.
National Guard units have been activated in anticipation of the Washington, D.C., rally, including units from New Jersey.
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