DHS warns of trucker protests ahead of Super Bowl, but stresses they're aspirational

The trucker protests began in Canada over COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

February 10, 2022, 12:13 PM

The Department of Homeland Security warned of potential truck protests around Inglewood, California, the home of the Super Bowl LVI, on Sunday, over, among other things, vaccine mandates. The potential protest is similar to what is occurring in Ottawa, Canada, but the DHS stressed there is nothing concrete about those plans.

"There are online discussions that suggest holding an event at a specific location near the Super Bowl on game day," DHS said in a notice sent to federal, state and local partners and obtained by ABC News.

"While there are currently no indications of planned violence or civil unrest, if hundreds of trucks converge in a major metropolitan city, the convoy could potentially severely disrupt transportation, federal government and law enforcement operations, and emergency services through gridlock and potential counterprotests," the DHS said.

The "Freedom Convoy" began in Canada's capital city last month after truckers began protesting the requirement for them to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to cross the U.S.-Canada border. Some are blocking the bridge between the United States and Canada with their trucks.

The DHS notice states that "the group intendeds to drat in California as early as mid-February and travel to Washington, DC as late as mid-March, reportedly gathering truckers as they travel across the country," and that truckers from Ottawa may join the event in D.C.

"However, as of the release of this notice, this event appears to be purely aspirational because the event is only being discussed online and we lack any information indicating the event is actually being organized," the notice states, but that this could "change quickly however, particularly since there are online discussions that suggest holding an event at a specific location near the Super Bowl on game day."

Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary, Department of Homeland Security, addresses the media during a press conference to discuss security measures taken in advance for the Super Bowl NFL Football game, Feb. 8, 2022, in Los Angeles.
Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

"At this time, we have no indication that individuals discussing participating in these activities in the United States are engaged in anything other than First Amendment-protected activity," DHS wrote in the bulletin. "Nonetheless, DHS remains concerned that these events could have significant public safety implications or potentially be exploited by ideologically motivated actors to potentially act or encourage others to act violently."

"The aspirational convoy has the potential to divert public safety resources in both Los Angeles and Washington, DC and may impact law enforcement's and emergency services' ability to respond to calls for service," the noticed states.

As DHS has warned in a bulletin, domestic extremists pose one of the biggest threats to the U.S. and DHS is sharing information ahead of the game.

Law enforcement officials told ABC News this is standard procedure when there is activity like there is in Ottawa, which could have a ripple effect in the U.S.

At a press conference on Tuesday in Los Angeles, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said there are no credible threats to Sunday's game.

"We have no information of a specific credible threat against the Super Bowl," he told reporters at the LA Convention Center. "What this is all about, is planning and preparation to prevent any incident from occurring."

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