By Raphael Satter
(Reuters) – A reported trucker protest planned to coincide with the Super Bowl appears to be going nowhere, a social media monitoring firm that has been tracking the issue said on Saturday.
After media reported on a U.S. Department of Homeland Security memo warning of potential disruption around Sunday’s Super Bowl, there was a notable increase in social media mentions about a convoy of anti-vaccine truckers purportedly planning to descend on Los Angeles.
The memo drew attention amid signs that the Canada’s “Freedom Convoy” protests, started in the national capital Ottawa by Canadian truckers opposing a vaccinate-or-quarantine mandate for cross-border drivers, is inspiring copycat demonstrations elsewhere.
But while protests and traffic blockades inspired by the Ottawa protests have gained steamed in Australia, New Zealand, and Europe, similar rallies in the United States have been slower to take off despite plenty of chatter in extremist circles and favorable coverage by right-wing outlets such as Fox News. On Friday, U.S. organizers, including Penny Faye of an organization dubbed “Convoy to Save America,” told Reuters they were planning convoys for this weekend or early next month.
“I think they ran out of time,” Welton Chang, whose Washington-based firm, Pyrra, has been following online talk about the plan to protest the Super Bowl, said Saturday. He also cited the lack of consensus around whether the marquee sporting event was an appropriate target.
A Reuters review of social media has also found little support for a Super Bowl plan.
There was scant mention of a Super Bowl protest on TruckersForFreedom, a popular Telegram channel devoted to sharing news from the protests in Canada and abroad, for example.
A partner channel purportedly devoted to the Super Bowl rally just had a single poll surveying participants on whether they planned to participate in a Super Bowl protest; the overwhelming majority of the 8,000 users who voted said they couldn’t come.
(Reporting by Raphael Satter; Editing by Aurora Ellis)