What that meant exactly is still anyone’s guess, other than expressing an obvious affinity for the antidemocratic “Patriot” movement. Riddell made his views in that regard clear at one of their ad-hoc reorganizing sessions when he told one participant, “I don’t believe in democracy. Our founding fathers didn’t believe in democracy.”
Eventually, the lingering remnants of the convoy—including its leading livestreamers—largely retreated to their relocated base of operations in Bunker Hill, West Virginia. The new location is only 10 miles farther distant from Washington than Hagerstown, which is 70 miles away.
The Herald-Mail in Hagerstown reported Saturday that Speedway general manager Lisa Plessinger asked the group to leave amid the violent infighting that broke out earlier in the week.
"I'm not a babysitter. I didn't sign up for that," Plessinger said, "so when they got to acting like a bunch of kids it was time for them to go home.
"Just like with any unruly child, you only put up with so many temper tantrums before you say, 'Enough. Put them in time out.' So that's what I did."
The People’s Convoy Facebook page posted a proclamation: "As of 2:30pm EST today May 20, 2022, The People's Convoy declares victory and announces its conclusion of the national convoy portion of this great movement. Any convoy and protest activity from this time forward is done on an individual basis and is not representing The People's Convoy."
The post added that the convoy would remain active and transition to "attending rallies and raising awareness at the state level. We encourage everyone to participate and become actively involved in The People's Convoy state groups while leadership transitions National from a rolling convoy and focuses on growth within the movement." However, about a day later, the People’s Convoy page had disappeared from Facebook altogether.
The breakup of the convoy on Friday apparently caught both organizers and participants flat-footed and created some moments of high anxiety. At one point, a child who had been passenger on a school bus riding with the convoy turned up missing; police eventually found the boy in Hagerstown.
Participants were suddenly tossed out with nowhere to go. They were outraged to discover that the “People’s Convoy” organizers hadn’t arranged a long-term contract with the speedway’s owners and faced arrest if they failed to vacate. Most of them wanted to know what had become of the millions of dollars that the traveling protest’s organizers had boasted about raising. They made a scene outside the luxury RV where convoy leaders Ron Coleman and Marcus Summers had holed up.
When Maryland State Troopers showed up at Hagerstown Speedway at around 8 PM and informed participants they had to vacate or be charged with trespassing, some of them began shouting at the cops about “squatters' rights!” Some participants yelled back at the police: “We would like to press charges!” They claimed the convoy leaders were committing “criminal fraud”; police told them that even if they could file charges, they’d still have to leave. Summers came outside and tried to stammer out an explanation as best as he could, saying that they had run out of funds.
“Arrest them for fucking fraud,” one convoy-goer yelled. Summers scrambled back into the RV as police attempted to deescalate the situation. Eventually, everyone went back to their vehicles.
As The Washington Post reported last week, the money to finance all this protesting may indeed be running out. The right-wing operation funding the convoy, the American Foundation for Civil Liberties and Freedom (AFCLF)—an operation overseen by a man who pleaded guilty to fraud—says it collected $1.89 million for the protests, with small donors providing most of the donations, though not necessarily most of the money. But that money is about to run out.
The AFCLF’s president told the Post that the foundation had stepped away from assisting the convoy with advocacy about a month ago and would cease its financial work with the group sometime last week. He added that “not much funding remains from what was raised.”
On Friday, a number of the participants appeared to have settled overnight at nearby hotels; others apparently found vacant lots where they could park. The next morning, on Saturday, “Santa” met with the convoy’s remnants and assured them that they would find a new location for an extended stay; by Sunday morning, they were able to relocate to a property near Bunker Hill in West Virginia.
Some of the truckers spent Sunday visiting Washington, D.C.—one pair apparently spent part of their time at the Lincoln Memorial handing out conspiracist “Patriot” propaganda and haranguing tourists about the World Health Organization, but were driven off by a rainstorm.
As racetrack manager Lisa Plessinger put it: "Initially they were just to be there one day, one night, and it just turned into ... like when your mother-in-law comes to visit and decides to stay," she said.
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