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3 Feb, 2022 04:18

GoFundMe halts campaign for Canada trucker protest

The fundraising platform said the Freedom Convoy 2022 campaign is now under review
GoFundMe halts campaign for Canada trucker protest

Crowdfunding site GoFundMe has placed a pause on a campaign to support truckers protesting cross-border vaccine mandates in Canada and the US, stopping the initiative for “review” after it amassed nearly $8 million.

“This fundraiser is currently paused and under review to ensure it complies with our terms of service and applicable laws and regulations,” the site said in a notice appended to the fundraiser on Wednesday evening, adding that its team is “working 24/7 and doing all we can to protect both organizers and donors.”

Created to cover expenses incurred by truck drivers protesting Covid mandates in the Canadian capital and along the border with the US, the fundraiser has garnered $7,964,141 (Can$10,096,400) as of Wednesday night.

Beyond the brief missive that now appears on the campaign page, however, GoFundMe has offered few other details about the review or why it was initiated.

While a January 27 update from the campaign’s organizers said the platform had released the “first batch of funds,” it is unknown how much of the nearly $8 million was collected ahead of the pause.

The campaigners also previously denied media reports that GoFundMe had frozen their donations, saying the site had instead put a “temporary hold” on the effort due to “international banking regulations,” though have yet to speak on its most recent decision.

The Freedom Convoy kicked off last week in protest of a vaccination mandate for truckers traveling between the United States and Canada, seeing scores of vehicles blockade a border crossing near Coutts, Alberta and create a miles-long backup stretching into Montana.

Local officials have denounced the protest as a “significant inconvenience” which “must end immediately,” while police have declared the gathering unlawful and vowed to crack down. However, attempts to do so have met little success so far, with protesters simply moving the blockade elsewhere to evade law enforcement.

Canada’s capital, Ottawa has also been hit by ongoing protests, with thousands joining the convoy to denounce the mandates over the weekend, clogging the streets and reportedly even forcing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau into hiding over fears for his safety. On Wednesday, Ottawa police claimed the protests feature a “significant element” of US citizens, saying they have “converged in our city” and that “there are plans for more to come.”