Tuesday was set to be the day that American truckers were to park their trucks to protest possible vaccine mandates on the horizon, but it remains to be seen whether their actions will be as headline-grabbing as the Australian driver shutdown.
On August 29, a group of Australian truckers managed to shut down M-1 on the Gold Coast for about an hour to protest employer mandated vaccines. The truckers draped a banner reading “Truckies keep Australia moving, not politicians” across the front of their trucks and caused major traffic disruptions on the highway.
The protest activity was joined by a group of non-trucking industry protesters angry over COVID-19 shutdowns, bringing the estimated number of demonstrators up to 100, according to local news outlets. Police eventually broke up the blockade and forced the trucks off of M-1.
GOOD NEWS: Queensland has recorded another day of no new #COVID19 cases.
Still, this has done little to ease anger at the border, with truck drivers forming a blockade on a major highway this morning. @meggillespie9 #9News
LATEST: https://t.co/PBmwAUlDgG pic.twitter.com/WCWWhSgwZZ
— 9News Queensland (@9NewsQueensland) August 30, 2021
Protest activities continued into Tuesday in Australia. The West Australian reports that 150 people were arrested and 600 cited on Tuesday at various anti-vaccine, anti-lockdown protest activities in Australia, many of them not associated with the trucking industry.
Here in the U.S., a rise in the number of Delta variant cases combined with FDA approval of one of the major COVID vaccines has pushed many major American employers and the federal government to require the jab for some workers.
Though there has so far been no serious push to require vaccines for American truck drivers, the U.S. trucking industry at large has been hesitant to take the vaccine and has been vocal about their dislike for employer vaccine mandates.
After reading reports on the planned Australian strike, many U.S. truckers began plotting their own shutdown on social media — in part in support of the Australian movement and also to warn employers and the federal government that they don’t want the jab.
One of the most outspoken advocates for a U.S. shutdown was TikTok user The Disrespected Trucker, who called for truck drivers to gather at various locations across the country on August 31st in a protest mirroring the planned Australian blockades.
“On August 31st, on Tuesday, we’re asking that everybody not go to work. If they’re out on the road, shut your truck down. There are guys that plan on putting their trucks across the road. There’s guys who plan on parking on the side of the road, parking at home, and at truck stops. I’m not telling anyone how to do it or what to do,” The Disrespected Trucker told followers.
However, TikTok abruptly shut down The Disrespected Trucker account, forcing the trucker onto Twitter and possibly stymieing organized protests in the U.S.
In an August 30 Twitter video, The Disrespected Trucker says that he was banned from the TikTok platform for “absolutely nothing. I didn’t threaten anyone. I didn’t bully anybody. I didn’t promote violence, but they banned me anyway.”
“It’s sad what this country is coming to, and if we don’t all start standing up against this, we’re in deep trouble,” he continued.
— The Disrespected Trucker (@DisrespectedThe) August 30, 2021
While many truckers have said that they do not plan to participate, as of Tuesday afternoon, there is some evidence that U.S. truckers are participating in protest activities.
A Facebook live video shared by Sparky Anderson appears to show a slow roll driver protest near Nashville, Tennessee, that ended with a truck bearing a sign reading “#Freedom Stop The Tires” being pulled over by police.
Here’s what we’re seeing so far:
##truckingforgod ##fyp ##united ##Godsnotdead ##unitedwestand ##truckinglife ##stitch ##brothersofthehighway ##duet
##duet ##stitch ##brothersofthehighway ##truckinglife ##Godsnotdead ##christiantiktok ##trucking ##truckingforgod