GoFundMe has paused a multimillion dollar fundraiser for a protest in Canada that has attracted thousands of people opposing the U.S. and Canadian governments’ COVID-19 vaccine mandates for cross-border truckers.
The crowdsourcing fundraising platform said it wanted to “ensure the funds are going to the intended recipients” in the Freedom Convoy 2022 campaign, which has collected more than CA$10 million (US$7.9 million) in donations.
“This fundraiser is currently paused and under review to ensure it complies with our terms of service and applicable laws and regulations,” according to a statement from GoFundMe released Wednesday. “Our team is working 24/7 and doing all we can to protect both organizers and donors. Thank you for your patience.”
The $10.1 million in donations Freedom Convoy 2022 has raised is the second-largest GoFundMe campaign in Canadian history, exceeded only by a fundraiser following the Humboldt Broncos’ junior hockey team bus crash in 2015.
Tamara Lich, who set up the Freedom Convoy 2022 campaign on GoFundMe on Jan. 14, said funds will be used to reimburse Canadians for gas and food expenses incurred while participating in a rally in Ottawa, the nation’s capital, which began Saturday.
“The speed at which the rumor mill operates is amazing. If there are major changes and/or problems, we will inform everyone on the GoFundMe page,” Lich tweeted Wednesday after donations were halted.
It’s the second time crowdsourcing donations platform GoFundMe has put a hold on the Freedom Convoy 2022 fundraiser. GoFundMe paused dispersing any funds on Jan. 25 amid confusion about how they would be distributed.
An initial CA$1 million (US$783,315) was released to Lich and other organizers Friday.
The Freedom Convoy movement has attracted thousands of protesters across the country, including hundreds of truckers remaining in Ottawa’s downtown streets, along with truckers blockading a U.S.-Canadian border crossing in Coutts, Alberta.
While the protests were initially triggered by the U.S. and Canadian governments’ vaccine mandates for cross-border truckers, many protesters are now announcing other demands related to measures to combat COVID-19 and grievances against the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Watch: FreightWaves’ Nate Tabak discusses the latest news about the Freedom Convoy.
More articles by Noi Mahoney