Washington Capitol Police announced hat they are planning for extra security ahead of US President Joe Biden’s first State of the Union (SOTU) address scheduled for March 1, as protests launched by truckers in neighbouring Canada are spilling over.
Law enforcement agencies across the National Capital Region “are aware of plans for a series of truck convoys” arriving in Washington, D.C. around the time of the Biden’s speech to the joint session of Congress, Xinhua news agency quoted the Capitol Police as saying in a statement.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has recently warned state and local law enforcement agencies that demonstrations similar to truck protests in Canada could begin “in major metropolitan cities in the US”.
Truckers have held protests in Canada against the country’s Covid-19 restrictions over the past few weeks by blocking city traffic and border crossings with the US.
Canadian police began arresting protesters on Friday days after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau empowered law enforcement authorities to declare the blockades illegal, tow away trucks, arrest the drivers, suspend their licenses, and freeze their bank accounts.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said earlier this week that the administration is “constantly assessing any impacts or any security impacts” from potential truck protests in the US.
All 535 members of Congress are expected to attend Biden’s SOTU address.
They will have to wear masks the whole time and submit a negative Covid-19 test within 24 hours of the event.
US Presidents are required by the country’s Constitution to “give to the Congress information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient”.
Biden spoke to a joint session of Congress in April last year but the remarks are not considered a State of the Union address until the President’s second calendar year in office.