Law enforcement agencies in New Jersey and several other states are monitoring what could turn out to be several different trucker convoys moving towards the U.S. capital in the coming weeks.

The convoy activity has apparently been inspired by recent Canadian anti-vaccine mandate protests that shut down a critical trade route between Ontario and Michigan.

Now comes word of a trucker convoy that calls for hundreds of trucks and other vehicles to travel from North Jersey to the South end of the state, with stops for rallies and entertainment, during the first weekend in March.

Blockades not part of the plan

One of the coordinators of the convoy, Morris County resident Jackie Thomas, said no blockades are going to take place.

Canadian PM Trudeau Invokes Emergencies Act As Protests Continue In Ottawa
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“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,” she said.

Thomas said after watching the anti-vaccine mandate protests in Canada on TV, she learned the trucker convoys heading to Washington, D.C., from the Northeast were not going to travel through the Garden State because organizers wanted to avoid the New Jersey Turnpike tolls.

Convoy traveling through New Jersey

She was inspired to help organize a convoy of hundreds of trucks and other vehicles that would start on Saturday, March 5 at 10 a.m. at a yet-to-be disclosed location in Mahwah and head to the New Egypt Speedway in Plumsted.

“We’re going to convoy down to Central Jersey as a group,” she said.

She said after the convoy arrives in the late afternoon, using roads and highways without tolls, a non-partisan freedom rally and celebration will take place.

“We have a lot of speakers, we have a band, we have a DJ, we have food trucks, the entire area is invited,” she said.

She said after camping at the Speedway overnight or staying at a nearby hotel or motel, members of the convoy will head to the Salem Fairgrounds in South Jersey on Sunday for another freedom event with bands, speakers and entertainment for children that will last all day into the evening.

Friends celebrate party with sparklers and firework at sunset
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On Monday morning, she said some truckers will then head off to Washington while others will stay in Jersey and return home.

Thomas said that requiring a COVID vaccine to hold a job, go to a gym, attend a concert or go into a restaurant is wrong, and “we feel that at the very least we should have the freedom to decide what goes into our body.”

Thomas said the vaccine is not stopping people from getting the virus, so there is no reason to mandate it.

Public health experts continue to remind people that the vaccine, which is largely safe, has helped reduce the risk of people contracting the virus or spreading it to others who cannot receive the vaccine or who would be at severe risk from COVID complications.

The vaccine also helps prevent serious illness and death from the coronavirus.

You can get more information about the convoy here.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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