GoFundMe Shuts Down Freedom Convoy Citing Violence

The Freedom Convoy has tested the patience of many. For GoFundMe, that patience has reached its limit.

Canadians are growing increasingly frustrated with the so-called “Freedom Convoy”. As we previously reported, supporters of the convoy have been sending death threats, dancing on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, desecrating the Terry Fox statue, and constantly blasting horns in residential neighbours. Of course, the focus of that article is also to point out how one artist received veiled death threats for drawing a cartoon criticizing the convoy. It basically proved that the convoy is less about freedom of expression and more about protecting their expression at the expense of others.

Since our report, we have been seeing even more reports of violence and criminal activity. Those reports are about how people’s face masks are getting ripped off, reporters having beer cans thrown at their heads, supporters urinating on various monuments, racist images being paraded through known black neighbourhoods, ambulances getting blocked despite their sirens, loud music being played at night, fireworks being lit up in residential neighbourhoods late at night, horns being blasted at all hours, and pedestrians getting assaulted to name some of these issues. Citizens are being told that if they have to go through one neighbourhood, try not to look like a reporter or a healthcare worker. This is because of fears for their personal safety.

Anger has been directed at the police in Ottawa for their largely hands off approach. Many residents refer to many other protests such as protests to raise awareness of homelessness, indigenous rights, black lives matter, the SPP protests, or even the occupy Wallstreet protests and note how quickly police moved in to tear down everything, violently arrest demonstrators, the bringing in of riot police and launching tear gas into the crowds within hours. They then look at the current protests and note how much police have taken a comparatively hands off approach.

Many businesses were also forced to shut down to protect their and their employees personal safety. Residents have largely been living in fear as well as they realize that their own cities have been captured by mob rule.

That only added fuel to the anger directed at the police. Politicians have been saying that they stand at the ready if the police needs assistance, but otherwise, punting the issue back to the police. This elevated the residents anger at pretty much everyone involved. Many speculate that the police are politically siding with the convoy and that speculation ramped when video surfaces showing police doing a fist bump with one protester. Another picture also surfaced where police were posing with the protesters, seemingly joining the party as well.

To combat the criticism, police announced on Friday that they will conduct a “Surge and Contain” effort. For residents, this was a long time coming and there was hope that police would finally clean up the protest zone after all the city bylaws and legal infractions that seem to go on without punishment or any sign of law enforcement. Saturday came and many noted that police were largely absent during this so-called operation. It was almost as if the surge of police really only applied to the break room more than anything else.

For their part, residents were growing increasingly fed up with the protests and found themselves needing to take matters into their own hands. The police weren’t going to do anything and politicians were simply punting the issue back to the police. Some took to Twitter to say that the police have failed. A class action lawsuit was filed against the convoy, seeing nearly $10 million in damages due to the constant noise and hearing loss from all the blastings of the horns at all hours. From Global:

An Ottawa citizen has filed a lawsuit claiming up to $10 million in damages against the organizers of the trucker convoy that has parked itself in the city for over a week.

The lawsuit, filed by lawyer Paul Champ on behalf of resident Zexi Li, claims damages of $4.8 million for “private nuisance” and $5 million for “punitive damages.”

It is against organizers Chris Barber, Benjamin Dichter, Tamara Lich, Patrick King and up to 60 semi-truck drivers who have honked their horns in protest but whose names are unknown.

The lawsuit claims that for protesters to make their voices heard to politicians, the organizers made a plan to “make as much noise as possible” to cause discomfort to political leaders, and encouraged participants to “blast the horns on their vehicles, nonstop, for several hours.”

A support protest was also organized in Vancouver. That was met with Canadian’s who were equally fed up with the convoy as they blocked the convoys routs with bicycles. From CTV:

For the second consecutive weekend, protesters opposed to COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other pandemic-related restrictions took to the streets of Metro Vancouver.

Unlike last weekend, however, the convoy met organized resistance in the City of Vancouver.

Dozens of counter-protesters on foot and on bicycles met the rolling protest on Terminal Avenue as it headed toward Main Street Saturday morning. Counter protesters carried signs with messages reading, “Honk if you’re vaxxed,” “No Hate Speech” and “Go Home.”

After a standoff that lasted less than an hour, both groups started to leave the scene, with some counter-protesters indicating they were headed to the intersection of Main and Hastings streets, believing the convoy would attempt to enter downtown via Hastings.

Vancouver police said on Twitter late Saturday morning that the convoy had “split in multiple directions,” with “numerous counter-protesters” attempting to stop it by blocking intersections.

This seemed to help inspire other Canadian’s to counter the convoy protest with protests of their own against the convoy. Images and video are flowing onto social media:



Of course, many are forced to take to social media simply because the media isn’t really doing much to cover the citizens response. The coverage has been largely focused on what the convoy wants, what the convoy protesters think, and journalists constantly saying over and over again that the protests are peaceful despite the mounting evidence that suggests otherwise. We also couldn’t help but notice on multiple occasions now that reporters are going to the streets to cover how peaceful the protests are only to get accosted by them. The protesters ended up screaming at them for lying and being fake news, forcing the story to get cut short.

I’ve personally been in a city where one of these support protests took place. They took routs that did an effective job at partially shutting down the city. The honking was constant and everywhere. In order to go about my day-to-day business, I took side roads and routs in alleys in an effort to avoid as much of the convoy as possible. It wasn’t possible, but I personally felt like a prisoner in my own city.

I can tell you that I didn’t feel this uneasy walking down the streets with that constant atmosphere where being a responsible citizen could put my personal safety at risk. I wear my mask, I do my social distancing, and I’m fully vaccinated. That sense of being socially responsible and thinking that this could put my personal safety at risk is unsettling. I’m reminding myself that this is Canada I’m walking through right now and it really felt like the city was under siege by extremists and unhinged anti-science nut jobs.

A good idea of what it was like to walk the streets can be found in this video:

For Canadian citizens, they are finally seeing some sense of reprieve. It didn’t come from politicians or the police, but GoFundMe. The company has announced that it has suspended the GoFundMe campaign supporting the convoy. The campaign raised roughly $10 million. Many suspect that a good portion of those funds came from foreign contributions as part of a foreign interference campaign to fuel the convoy in the first place. GoFundMe says that while they support free speech and the right to protest, they’ve concluded what many Canadians feel it has evolved to: an occupation. From GoFundMe:

  • GoFundMe supports peaceful protests and we believe that was the intention of the Freedom Convoy 2022 fundraiser when it was first created.
  • We now have evidence from law enforcement that the previously peaceful demonstration has become an occupation, with police reports of violence and other unlawful activity.

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. 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.

Organizers provided a clear distribution plan for the initial $1M that was released earlier this week and confirmed funds would be used only for participants who traveled to Ottawa to participate in a peaceful protest. Given how this situation has evolved, no further funds will be directly distributed to the Freedom Convoy organizers — we will work with organizers to send all remaining funds to credible and established charities chosen by the Freedom Convoy 2022 organizers and verified by GoFundMe.

Many Canadians will no doubt feel that this is one of the biggest victories they’ve seen yet in their efforts to take back their city streets. It won’t stop the convoy, but it certainly is a start for Canadian residents.

Convoy protesters are, of course, digging in their heels and insist that they won’t go anywhere until the mandates are completely lifted everywhere. That, of course, is unlikely going to happen. Reports are indicating that they are setting up multiple bouncy castles, saunas, BBQ’s, DJ equipment, constructing buildings, and tonnes of fuel. Police say that they will arrest anyone else bringing in material support for the convoy, though whether they will go beyond saying they’ll enforce the law remains to be seen. So far, talk of enforcement has been hollow outside of cracking down on counter protests.

Still, a victory is a victory. For Canadian citizens, they’ll take what they can get since their cities continue to be controlled by mob rule with no end in sight.

Update: An Ottawa mayor has now declared a state of emergency to deal with the protests. From CTV:

Mayor Jim Watson has declared a state of emergency for the city of Ottawa as the “Freedom Convoy” demonstration against COVID-19 rules continues to occupy the downtown core.

The mayor declared the state of emergency just hours after Ottawa police said new enforcement is underway to cut off the supply of fuel and materials to protesters on Wellington Street and streets near Parliament Hill.

“Declaring a state of emergency reflects the serious danger and threat to the safety and security of residents posed by the ongoing demonstrations and highlights the need for support from other jurisdictions and levels of government,” said a statement from the city.

“It also provides greater flexibility within the municipal administration to enable the City of Ottawa to manage business continuity for essential services for its residents and enables a more flexible procurement process, which could help purchase equipment required by frontline workers and first responders.”

Ottawa Police Services Board chair Diane Deans asked the city solicitor during Saturday’s special Ottawa Police Services Board meeting if declaring a state of emergency would have “any immediate, positive impacts” on the situation in Ottawa.

“From the standpoint of a legal authority, the declaration of an emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act does little,” said Solicitor David White, adding there would be no additional authority to the city or police.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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