- Groups online are discussing staging US trucker convoy protests, inspired by the one in Canada.
- Federal officials warned this week that there are some reports a protest could target the Super Bowl.
- Law enforcement said there are no credible threats yet and that security will already be significant.
Federal officials warned that a trucker convoy protesting COVID-19 vaccine mandates — inspired by the ongoing demonstrations in Canada — could target the Super Bowl this weekend, but law enforcement doesn’t see it as a major threat.
The Super Bowl, which takes place Sunday at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood in Los Angeles County, will feature the Los Angeles Rams against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Department of Homeland Security distributed a notice to public safety officials and law enforcement agencies this week saying “the convoy could severely disrupt transportation, federal government, and law enforcement operations through gridlock and potential counterprotests,” Yahoo News first reported Wednesday.
DHS said it “has received reports of a convoy of truckers planning to potentially block roads in major metropolitan cities in the United States in protest of, among other things, vaccine mandates for truck drivers.”
Such a blockade has been playing out in Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, since last month, when a convoy of truckers and other groups arrived to protest a variety of public health measures. Much of the city center has been shut down by the occupation, with Ottawa’s mayor declaring a state of emergency on Sunday.
But law enforcement in Los Angeles said it is not aware of any credible or direct threats related to the game.
The LA County Sheriff’s Department told Insider it is ramping up security for the Super Bowl, but as a standard practice and not in response to the DHS warning. A public information officer said on Wednesday there was no “legitimacy” to the trucker convoy threat.
He also said, because of the way the area surrounding the stadium will be blocked off, if a trucker convoy did arrive in the city, it would not be able to get near the stadium without a game pass.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas also said at a press conference Tuesday there was no indication of a “specific credible threat against the Super Bowl,” ABC News reported.
The DHS warning about the potential trucker convoy said that, as of Tuesday, it appeared to be “purely aspirational because the event is only being discussed online” but noted that “this could change quickly,” Yahoo reported. Insider’s Jake Epstein and Kieran Press-Reynolds reported Wednesday dozens of right-wing groups were using Telegram to discuss organizing trucker convoys in the US.
“What this is all about, is planning and preparation to prevent any incident from occurring,” Mayorkas said.
The law enforcement agencies are upping security ahead of the game according to a plan made well before the potential trucker convoy threat. Local and federal agencies, including LASD, Inglewood Police Department, DHS, and the FBI, among others, are coordinating the security plans.
An additional 380 of their personnel were working as part of the planned security measures, which included air and sea teams, LASD told Insider. About 250 LASD officers would be providing security on the ground alongside Inglewood police, while a helicopter crew and a dive team, staged at the lake beside the stadium, would be deployed.
More than 500 personnel from DHS would also be in Los Angeles to work on security for the game, DHS said.
Authorities also told ABC that 30 miles of airspace around the stadium would be restricted, and that even flying a drone in the space could lead to a fine of more than $30,000 and potentially jail time.
Inglewood Police Department did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.