For the second time in a week, GoFundMe has paused the fundraising page for the Canadian Freedom Convoy.
“This fundraiser is currently paused and under review to ensure it complies with our terms of service and applicable laws and regulations,” a notice at the top of the convoy’s GoFundMe page reads. “Our team is working 24/7 and doing all we can to protect both organizers and donors. Thank you for your patience.”
The fundraiser had just surpassed an incredible $10 million on Wednesday, an amount that far exceeds the total raised by Canada’s major political parties last quarter, according to Fox News.
GoFundMe initially held on to the funds last week, requesting transparency regarding “the flow of funds” and how they money would be spent.
Then the Freedom Convoy fundraisers announced on Friday that GoFundMe had begun to pay out the funds, starting with the first payment of $1 million in Canadian dollars.
GoFundMe explained its latest action against the Freedom Convoy fundraising page in a blog post.
“Recent events in Ottawa, Canada, have generated widespread discussion about the Freedom Convoy 2022 fundraiser on GoFundMe. We wanted to provide clarity around the actions that our global Trust & Safety and Customer Care teams take every day, just as they have with the Freedom Convoy fundraiser,” GoFundMe wrote in part.
“As the activity surrounding the protest evolves, we have been monitoring the fundraiser to ensure the funds are going to the intended recipients and that the fundraiser remains within our Terms of Service. Our monitoring includes maintaining close communication with the organizer as well as collaborating with local law enforcement,” GoFundMe said.
“This process takes time and may slow down the withdrawal process. If the fundraiser does violate our Terms of Service or does not directly benefit the intended beneficiary, we will remove it from the platform,” the site added.
Two people were arrested and there are 13 active investigations tied to the massive trucker demonstration in Ottawa, police said in a statement Tuesday.
Ottawa’s chief of police suggested Wednesday that the Canadian Armed Forces might have to be called in to handle the lingering protesters in the Canadian capital.
“This is a national issue, not an Ottawa issue,” Ottawa police Chief Peter Sloly said in a briefing to city councilors. “I am increasingly concerned there is no policing solution to this.”
The move to freeze the funding came just hours after Ottawa City council member Diane Deans called the truckers “mercenaries” during a Zoom meeting and demanded that GoFundMe, “under threat of legal action,” cut off their funding.
GoFundMe has suspended the Freedom Convoy campaign under threat of legal action by Ottawa City council member Diane Deans.
"We need to cut off the pipeline of funding to these mercenaries that are unlawfully protesting and occupying our communities." pic.twitter.com/4O3gEX3C7o
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) February 3, 2022
On Monday, Mathieu Fleury, the Ottawa City Councilor of Rideau-Vanier Ward, announced on Twitter that he had requested the city to launch a legal effort to seize millions of dollars from the Canadian Freedom Convoy’s GoFundMe account.
Fleury tweeted that he asked the city manager and city solicitor to target the funds “so Ottawa taxpayers aren’t left holding the bag for these protests.”
Rumors have circulated in the corporate media that the Canadian military may be dispatched to clear out the Freedom Convoy occupation in Ottawa, but according to Canadian Wall Street Journal reporter Paul Vieira, these reports are false.
Spokesman for Canada’s defence minister, Anita Anand, said: “The Canadian Armed Forces are not involved in law enforcement in this situation, and there are no plans for such CAF involvement,” Vieira tweeted.
Spokesman for Canada's defence minister, following comments from Ottawa police chief Sloly on possible need for military's help in trucker protest: "The Canadian Armed Forces are not involved in law enforcement in this situation, and there are no plans for such CAF involvement.”
— Paul Vieira (@paulvieira) February 3, 2022
Freedom Convoy organizer Tamara Lich said during a press conference Thursday afternoon that the group’s lawyers and accountants have been working to provide GoFundMe with all the information it has requested, and suspension should be lifted soon.
“Over the past few days, our accountants and lawyers have been working hard to deal with the legal details,” Lich said. “This morning, our lawyer sent GoFundMe all the details that they had asked for. I am confident that GoFundMe now has all the information needed to immediately lift the suspension they put on our campaign.”
The organizers said they will continue to occupy downtown Ottawa until the COVID vaccine mandates are lifted, like they have in Sweden, Denmark, UK, Norway, Finland, Ireland, and Switzerland.
Rebel News' @ThevoiceAlexa and @lincolnmjay report live from Ottawa,Canada where the Leaders of Freedom Convoy 2022 is holding a press conference
Help support our coverage at https://t.co/Ep5jQFUCrl@RebelNewsOnline #FreedomConvoyCanada2022 #OttawaConvoy https://t.co/A6xZfMcmwG
— Alexandra Lavoie (@ThevoiceAlexa) February 3, 2022