Organizers for the “Freedom Convoy” say they followed all of the protocols put forth by GoFundMe before having their funds frozen.
On Wednesday, GoFundMe released a statement addressing the suspension of the campaign, which had raised more than $10 million in donations. The campaign currently has a notice stating that it’s under review to ensure it complies with GoFundMe’s terms of service and applicable laws and regulations.
During a Thursday afternoon press conference, Tamara Lich — one of the convoy organizers — says they gave the crowdfunding platform “all the details they asked for” before Wednesday’s decision.
“We’ve been painted as racists, misogynists, and even terrorists,” she says. During the presser, Lich read a statement saying the protest is calling on “all levels of government to lift all COVID-19 restrictions and mandates” and said they would not leave Ottawa until “a solid plan” to meet their demands is made.
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“We want to thank the hundreds of residents of Ottawa who have stepped forward to show us support, provided accommodations, food, and just plain friendship to members of our convoy,” she continued. “This love of community is what Canada is all about.”
Lich says demonstrators will “continue our protest until we see a clear plan for their elimination.”
“Let me assure the people of Ottawa that we have no intent to stay one day longer than necessary,” she says. “Our departure will be based on the prime minister doing what is right, ending all mandates and restrictions on our freedoms.”
GoFundMe says it puts pauses on donations when it does “not receive the required information.” The platform says it strictly prohibits “user content that reflects or promotes behaviour in support of violence — in this case, the organizer met our requirements, and the fundraiser did not violate our Terms of Service at the time of creation.”
On Thursday morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked if he’d consider negotiating directly with the protesters in an effort to get them to leave the nation’s capital. Trudeau said all of Canada’s regulations were debated in September before the federal election.
“That is the decision Canadians took in the last election by voting for parties that were supporting those mandates,” he said from a virtual press conference as he continues to isolate after testing positive for COVID-19.
“So having a group of people who disagree with the outcome of an election, who want to go a different way and bring in an alternative government, is a non-starter in a responsible democracy,” says Trudeau.
On Wednesday, the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms — an Alberta-based organization that defends the constitutional freedoms of Canadians — says it will “represent the Freedom Convoy 2022 in Ottawa” and that the non-profit organization has a team of lawyers on the ground providing legal assistance and advice.
With files from Daily Hive’s Isabelle Docto