GoFundMe says it won’t be giving the C$10 million ($8 million USD) raised to support the truckers protesting COVID-19 mandates to the organizers anymore, saying it will instead work with the organizers to send the funds to “established charities verified by GoFundMe.”
“To ensure GoFundMe remains a trusted platform, we work with local authorities to ensure we have a detailed, factual understanding of events taking place on the ground,” the fundraising platform said in a statement on Feb. 4.
“Following a review of relevant facts and multiple discussions with local law enforcement and city officials, 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 added that it has “evidence from law enforcement that the previously peaceful demonstration has become an occupation, with police reports of violence and other unlawful activity.”
John Carpay, president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) which is providing legal representation for the organizers, told The Epoch Times that the linking of protesters to violent or unlawful activity is unfounded.
“I would like to see what evidence there is,” Carpay said. “That’s political spin.”
Carpay said the organizers have maintained that the protests are peaceful.
“It’s a constitutional freedom to protest peacefully,” Carpay said.
He also said that it’s his understanding from people on the ground that people can move freely in Ottawa, and for example in a recent case an emergency vehicle was able to “rapidly race through the streets because the trucks were neatly parked off to the side.”
“They’re not obstructing the daily lives of people in Ottawa, and they’re committed to peace and non-violence,” he said.
The Epoch Times reached out to GoFundMe for comment but didn’t immediately hear back.
GoFundMe had earlier put a freeze in withdrawal of the funds as it undertook a review “to ensure it complies with our terms of service and applicable laws and regulations.”
Keith Wilson, a lawyer from JCCF representing the organizers, had said earlier at a Feb. 3 press conference that GoFundMe has been “bombarded with an orchestrated social media and other campaigns to try and shut [the fundraiser] down.”