Truckers’ union denies plan to disrupt Super Bowl LVI but offers no guarantees

Ritu Jha-

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association says it have no intention of protesting during the Sunday Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles but also refused to say no one would.

Super Bowl LVI, the National Football League for the 2021 NFL season, will be played between the National Football Conference champion Los Angeles Rams and the American Football Conference champion Cincinnati Bengals Sunday, Feb 13.

Responding to indica on news reports about a truckers’ protest similar to the one going on in Ottawa, Canada, Norita Taylor, APR, Government Affairs, Director of Public Relations, said, “Our understanding is there is no intention by known organizers to do that, but what we can’t tell is whether someone else unrelated will. Experience shows that these things get hijacked by other interests.”

California Trucking Association’s Bernice Jimenez Creager, director, Government and Public Affairs, told indica she had no idea about the media reports about a possible truckers’ protest. “We don’t have any information on this.”

A press release circulated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said, ‘DHS support for Super Bowl LVI includes more than 500 DHS personnel providing extensive air and maritime security resources; anti-human-trafficking prevention and enforcement support; intellectual property enforcement; chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosives detection technologies; venue, cyber, and infrastructure security assessments; intelligence analysis and threat assessments; and real-time situational awareness reporting for our partners.’

Fox News reported that White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday the DHS had deployed 500 employees and is “surging additional staff” in coordination with California police forces to prevent disruptions at the Super Bowl in response to an international trucking protest.

The DHS warned federal and local law-enforcement agencies that a group of protestors plans to organize a Canadian truck-style convoy, perhaps starting in Los Angeles, for the Super Bowl on Sunday, local media reported.

Many news outlets Thursday claimed they obtained a bulletin released by the DHS, which said the convoy could meet first in Los Angeles and then head east, perhaps reaching Washington, DC, in time for President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address Mar 1.

The authority “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 drivers,” the bulletin said, adding that the group intended to gather truckers as they travel across the country and truckers from Canada may also join the caravan.

“While there are no indications of planned violence, if hundreds of trucks converge in a major metropolitan city, the potential exists to severely disrupt transportation, federal government operations, commercial facilities and emergency services through gridlock and potential counter protests.” it said.

However, The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday that authorities said they were monitoring information online and were only aware of efforts to begin a convoy either in the Coachella Valley or Sacramento, capital of California, that would eventually gather steam across the country and head to Washington, DC.

One of the posts released by so-called “Organizers of People’s Convey” promoting the Coachella gathering suggested it would start next month.

“On Mar 4, 2022, truckers and all freedom-loving Americans will begin arriving at Coachella Valley in Indio, California, to participate in a rally being held the afternoon of Mar 4 and 5 to defeat the unconstitutional mandates.” the post said.

The Los Angeles Times report said fliers posted on the web calling for a protest or truck protest at Sunday’s Super Bowl are vague and it was unclear if there was any real support.

“At this time we do not have information regarding any incident,” the Los Angeles police department said in a statement Tuesday. “If a situation were to arise, we have sufficient number of officers.”

The DHS in its press note said, “Our partnership with the NFL on the ’If You See Something, Say Something®’ public awareness campaign… is using social media, digital advertisements and visual displays within the stadium and throughout the Los Angeles area to raise public awareness about the importance of reporting suspicious activity.”

On Super Bowl Sunday, game attendees and the general public in Los Angeles can report suspicious activity by calling or texting this tip line: (562) 662-2344. Suspicious activity and threats of violence, including online threats, can also be reported to local law enforcement, FBI field offices, or a local fusion center.