The Canada truck protest over mask and vaccine requirements is entering its fifth day. Ontario is just now getting serious about fines and jail time. But the timing might be fine for protesters to pick up stakes and move to a much more visible arena-literally. With Super Bowl LVI happening in a few days, SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, is bracing for these, or copycat, truck protesters, to appear.
Where are the truck protesters now?
The protesters are disrupting travel between Canada and the US at the Ambassador Bridge. This connects Detroit to Windsor, Ontario, and is a vital artery for the Detroit auto industry. Detroit’s car manufacturers use the bridge as a major supply route. It is also one of the busiest border crossings in the US.
The protesters call themselves the “Freedom Convoy.” They are against COVID vaccine and quarantine mandates. These were recently initiated by Canada, which followed the US lead. Besides the Ambassador Bridge blockade, the protesters have also shut down two smaller border bridges. And there are more protesters at the Ottawa Capital building.
But with all eyes on the Super Bowl this Sunday, there have been reports that a similar truck protest is in the offing at SoFi Stadium, where the game will be played. “At this time, we have no indication that individuals involved are engaged in anything other than First Amendment-protected activity,” a Department of Homeland Security official told Reuters.
US authorities received a DHS bulletin about truck protesters at the Super Bowl
The DHS has issued a bulletin to authorities across the United States. It says it “has received reports of truck drivers planning to potentially block roads in major metropolitan cities in the U.S. in protest of, among other things, vaccine mandates for truck drivers,” according to CNN. It also says that the Super Bowl convoy, if it happens, could then head for Washington DC for President Biden’s State of the Union speech on March 1.
Obviously, there will be a massive police presence at SoFi Stadium. The DHS has given the event a Level 1 Assessment Rating. That rating is for a “significant event with national and/or international importance requiring extensive federal interagency support.”
“Have several routes planned”
Disruptions are possible. Those coming to the NFL National Championship Game are being advised to plan alternate routes. Also, ticket holders are also being asked to report any suspicious activity or information between now and the game. “We’re very mindful of those that would wish to disrupt this. And we’re very attentive to ensuring such an occasion does not occur,” said Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore.
The DHS says it plans on “addressing” a blockage or protest of this kind. “But those protests (at the Ambassador Bridge) have been civil in nature. With the range of expertise the DHS brings to bear, we’ve planned and prepared for all different types of attacks that could occur.”
Super Bowl LVI kickoff starts at 6:30 ET on Sunday, February 13.