Protest by Truckers May Hobble Beltway

By Eric M. Weiss
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Drivers on the Capital Beltway could find themselves in the middle of a protest by truckers today and tomorrow that might slow traffic.

Organizers of the event have called on truckers to take up all lanes of the Beltway and drive the speed limit. The protest was planned to last from early morning until 5 p.m. through tomorrow.

The action was organized to protest illegal immigration and the ability Mexican truckers will soon have to operate in the United States. It was timed to coincide with a four-day rally in Washington in favor of immigration restrictions.

There were no reports of organized protests yesterday, according to area transportation officials. One driver saw several trucks going slowly in a single lane on the outer loop near Springfield about 10:15 a.m., but it was unclear whether they were part of the demonstration.

Protest organizer Wanda Piety, a self-described "mom and small-business owner" from Sylmar, Calif., said she wanted to call attention to potential safety problems and U.S. job losses that could result from allowing Mexican truckers to operate in the United States.

"Truckers are the easiest way to get America to pay attention," Piety said.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform is holding a rally through tomorrow, but the group said in a statement that it has "played no part" in the trucker protest's "planning or execution."

Staff writer Victoria Benning contributed to this report.

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