The public participation in online crowdfunding for public protests related to the Freedom Convoy taking place in Canada continues to be hit with roadblocks and is becoming a further threat to free expression and the right to protest.
After first having GoFundMe temporarily block the release of some of the funds that Canadians have donated to help support the livelihoods of the truckers taking place in the demonstration, GoFundMe began to pay out the funds, with the first payment of $1M in Canadian dollars being released, the campaign organizer tweeted on Friday.
However, the campaign has raised more than $7.3 million in Canadian dollars and those funds could now be at risk of being seized by the local government if some politicians get their way.
Mathieu Fleury, the Ottawa City Councillor of Rideau-Vanier Ward, has today announced his support for the government to launch a legal challenge to seize the remaining GoFundMe donations that had been collected online.
The Canadian province of Nova Scotia made it illegal for people to gather along a highway ahead of the “Freedom Convoy” of truckers that made their way across the country in protest of vaccine mandates.
The local government issued “a directive under the Emergency Management Act prohibiting protesters from blockading Highway 104 near the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick border.”
The directive specifically states supporters of the Freedom Convoy and another protest, the Atlantic Hold the Line event, can’t gather along Highway 104, on the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick border. The directive states that “allowing people to gather in those areas would put themselves and others at risk.”
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and his family have left their home in Ottawa for a secret location, the CBC reports, amid security concerns as thousands pour into the Canadian capital on Saturday in trucker convoys to protest vaccine mandates.
The PM’s office has said it will not comment on Mr Trudeau’s location for security reasons.
The Canadian Parliament’s Sergeant-at-Arms has warned that demonstrators could show up at the homes of officials, something Mr Trudeau knows well.
In 2020, a Canadian Armed Forces member carrying a gun rammed his vehicle into the gates of Rideau Hall, where the Trudeaus live, hoping to reach the prime minister.
Mr Trudeau has condemned the growing anti-mandate movement in the country as contrary to public health and Canadian values of kindness.
At least 50,000 truckers in a 45-mile long ‘Freedom Convoy’ are heading to Ottawa to protest the Canadian government’s mandate for drivers crossing the US-Canada border to have the covid vaccine – and they’re being cheered on by Elon Musk.
Truckers left from British Columbia on Sunday and will be met in the nation’s capital on Saturday by other protesters driving from the east and the south of the country. The convoy has been joined by US truckers.
‘It’s 70 kilometers long,’ Benjamin Dichter, a spokesman for the Freedom Convoy 2022, told the Toronto Sun after it passed Calgary heading west on Wednesday.
‘I have seen footage from an airplane. It’s impressive.’
By Friday morning, the drivers were in Kingston, Ontario, which is about 110 miles from the capity. Several thousand people are expected to gather in the capital, and some of the group´s leaders are calling for a peaceful event, but statements from some associated with the group have included threats of violence.
The road in front of Parliament Hill is to be closed to general traffic. Buildings in the Parliamentary district are being closed and locked except for essential staff as of Friday and workers warned of threats of physical damage.
The convoy of truckers set to descend on the city has prompted police to prepare for the possibility of violence and politicians to warn against escalating rhetoric linked to the demonstration. A top Parliament official warned lawmakers to avoid the protest and to lock their doors amid reports their private homes may be targeted.
The truckers are, in part, protesting a new rule that took effect January 15 requiring truckers entering Canada be fully immunized against the coronavirus. The United States has imposed the same requirement on truckers entering that country January 22.
Elon Musk also tweeted praise for the truckers, saying: ‘If you scare people enough, they will demand removal of freedom. This is the path to tyranny.’
Big Tech fundraising platform GoFundMe has suspended access to millions of dollars raised to support Canadian truckers who are protesting against vaccine mandates.
The platform, of course, did not block fundraisers related to the Black Lives Matter riots in 2020.
Approximately $5 million Canadian dollars were raised to support the trucker’s efforts, which is roughly $4 million US.
There are roughly 50,000 trucks participating in the “Freedom Convoy 2022,” which is heading to Ottawa to protest a vaccine mandate that requires drivers to be vaccinated or face a 14-day quarantine after arriving from the US.
GoFundMe claims that the funds “will be safely held” until the Freedom Convoy provides the documents “about how funds will be properly distributed.”
“We require that fundraisers be transparent about the flow of funds and have a clear plan for how those funds will be spent. In this case, we are in touch with the organizer to verify that information,” the platform’s spokeswoman, Rachel Hollis, told CTV News.
The fundraiser clearly stated that the money would be used to help the drivers cover “the costs of fuel first, and hopefully food and lodgings” to “ease the pressures” of their “arduous task.”
Tamara Lich, the organizer of the GoFundMe, took to Facebook to tell supporters not to worry.
“I am working with GoFundMe, trust me, we got this covered,” she said.
The first leg of the convoy, dubbed The Convoy For Freedom 2022 , is set to leave B.C. on Sunday. Convoy organizers plan to arrive in Ottawa on Jan. 29, where truckers from other provinces will join.
“I know a lot of drivers who are impacted by this. It has basically removed them from the workforce,” B.C. truck driver Colin Valentim told the Vancouver Sun .
Valentim will lead the B.C. leg of the convoy taking the western route and expects to be accompanied by others along the way. Two other convoys have different starting points: The eastern route is to begin on Jan. 27 in Enfield, Nova Scotia. The southern route will leave on the same day from Windsor, Ont.
A Go Fund Me page for the cause has raised more than $560,000 to help with food, lodgings and fuel for the truckers.
Floyd Ray Roseberry, the suspected bomber in the truck outside the Library of Congress and U.S. Capitol, has officially surrendered to police after a five-hour stand-off, MSNBC reported Thursday afternoon.
MSNBC’s Pete Williams said that there is every indication that he was acting alone, but that police are investigating it.
Videos showed him exiting his truck, holding his hands up, kneeling on the ground and crawling toward police.
The report also said that police were in his home looking for bomb-making materials and other information that could lead them to any information about what might be in his truck, if anything.
While Roseberry said that he had a bomb, police couldn’t see anything in the bed of his pickup. Roseberry said that it was in his tool-box and appeared to be holding something in his hand that one officer believed might be a detonator.