(Bloomberg) — GoFundMe has removed a fundraiser for Canadian truckers opposing vaccine mandates from its platform, saying the campaign violates terms prohibiting the promotion of violence.
Protesters have occupied the streets of the Canadian capital, Ottawa, for nearly a week, demonstrating against Canadian and US laws requiring truckers crossing the border to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Donations to “Freedom Convoy 2022” on GoFundMe surpassed more than C $10 million ($7.8 million) earlier this week.
Read more about Canada’s Covid rebellion
“GoFundMe supports peaceful protests and we believe that was the intention of the Freedom Convoy 2022 fundraiser when it was first created,” the platform said in an emailed statement late Friday. But based on reports of violence and other unlawful activity received from law enforcement, it has decided to suspend the campaign, the statement added.
“This fundraiser is now in violation of our Terms of Service (Term 8, which prohibits the promotion of violence and harassment) and has been removed from the platform,” GoFundMe said.
While an initial C$1 million was already released to organizers earlier this week, no further funds will be directly distributed to them, it said. Donors may submit a request for a full refund by Feb. 19. GoFundMe plans to send remaining funds to “ credible and established charities” chosen by the organizers, which it can verify, it said.
Pent-up frustration and rage have burst into downtown Ottawa, where demonstrators have started to build makeshift shelters and collect propane tanks, vowing to stay until vaccine mandates are lifted. The group has been championed on Fox News and by podcaster Joe Rogan, Tesla billionaire Elon Musk and former US President Donald Trump.
©2022 Bloomberg LP