Truck drivers from across the country started gathering Thursday afternoon in Dauphin County ahead of a rally in and around Washington this weekend.
Earl Conlon, who lives in Georgia, drew attention to the event when he urged drivers to block traffic on the Beltway and arrest senior Republicans and Democrats.
He told the Washington Post this week neither of those things will happen, and that his comments were meant to “stir the feathers of the mainstream media.” He added he was unsure if he’ll attend the rally.
Meanwhile, a Facebook page for the event, called “Truckers Ride for the Constitution,” had more than 125,000 likes as of Thursday evening. Organizers say the “general strike” still will happen.
Instead of stopping on the Beltway, organizers say drivers will circle the two inner lanes of the highway, allowing room in other lanes for emergency vehicles to drive. Drivers who gathered in Dauphin County say the plan to go to the Capitol as well.
The organizers have posted a list of demands on their website, some of which pertain directly to truck drivers (the cost of fuel), while others deal more generally with their concerns about governmental overreach.
“I’m tired of it. Everybody that you talk to is tired of it. They need to get their act together, and they need to balance the budget,” said Bradley Payne, of Killeen, Texas.
Some trucking groups, such as the American Trucking Associations, have criticized the planned strike. In a statement on its website the ATA said, “The American Trucking Associations is not a sponsor of this ‘strike’ nor do we endorse or condone the activities of these few individuals.”
After gathering in Dauphin County, some of the truckers planned to drive to Gilberton, Schuylkill County, to support police Chief Mark Kessler. He’s gained national attention after posting videos of himself shooting guns, swearing and criticizing liberal lawmakers. Kessler may lose his job during a borough council meeting.