David Riddell, the leader of an alt-right movement known as the 1776 Restoration Movement, was arrested after planning to block a road near the National Mall in D.C.

Known as “Santa Claus” by his followers, Riddell led a “people’s convoy” on a stretch of road leading to the National Mall. After the Maryland State Police determined that Riddell and his convoy were moving at a slow pace, “impeding normal and reasonable traffic movement.”

The day after Riddell’s arrest, the organizers of the convoy released a statement.

“What began as a beautiful Wednesday morning with Americans gathering on our country’s National Mall to peacefully protest was cut short by numerous D.C. cops threatening to arrest people,” they stated. “Although Santa was arrested and taken away, the rest of the 1776 Restoration Movement members stayed behind to hold the line.”

The convoy was reported to Maryland state police multiple times. In several instances, the convoy blocked several highway routes, including I-270, I-95 and I-370.

“This great and beautiful Nation belongs to ALL of us. We must exercise our God-given and Constitutionally-granted Rights to address the Grievances of We the People,” the statement continued.

The group originally protested Covid-19 mandates early in the pandemic, but over time, it has broadened its protests to incorporate different right-wing beliefs that coincide with the Qanon movement.

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