The trucker protest that vowed to shut down Washington, D.C.'s Capital Beltway this weekend and gridlock traffic may be a hoax designed to "stir the feather of the mainstream media," one of the reported organizers said Tuesday.
Earl Conlon, a Georgia trucker who claimed to be in charge of the protest's logistics, told U.S. News & World Report earlier this week that he and thousands of other truckers
would descend on D.C. this weekend and circle Interstate 495 for three days, tying up all three lanes of traffic by driving 55 mph. The "Truckers for the Constitution" traffic jam would be a demonstration against everything from gas prices and low wages to the debt ceiling and the government shutdown.
Conlon also said that the protestors would "arrest everyone in government who has violated their oath of office."
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"We want to make sure D.C. knows that the people ain't going to get ignored, ain't going to get laughed at," Conlon told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV Tuesday
. "If you're outside the Constitution, that makes you an outlaw… Therefore, if your police had the [guts] that they like to believe they have, they would obey the law and go and arrest somebody for violating their oath to office and blatantly walking on the law."
But later that same night, Conlon distanced himself from those comments and claimed that the quotes were meant to hype up the media and draw attention to truckers' gripes. What's more, he said he probably won't even be in D.C. this weekend.
"The comments to U.S. News were designed to do one thing and one thing only: stir the feather of the mainstream media," Conlon, a 50-year-old father of three, told the Washington Post.
"Nothing gets the attention of the mainstream media like some sort of disastrous threat. I knew it was going to ruffle some feathers.
"First of all, we know it would not be right to go to D.C. to lock down the city by the Belt loop. That wouldn’t be fair to the people there."
But Pete Santilli, an Internet radio host who says he's the official spokesman for the "Truckers for the Constitution" ride, claims that the movement is not entirely a hoax, but not out to "arrest" anyone, as Conlon said earlier this week.
"We're looking for an Egypt moment, where 100 million people will get out on the street, get out on the roads and demand that our legislature follow the Constitution," he told Politico.
Santilli said the ride is meant to be a "photo op for the press" intended to spark a larger outcry over trucker concerns like healthcare, hours, parking, and other federal regulations, according to the protest's website.
Two major trucking agencies — the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the American Trucking Association — have both said in statements that their organizations do not support or sponsor any type of potential "strike" or "traffic jam," according to Politico.
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