By Sarah Turnbull
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OTTAWA (CTV Network) — The “Freedom Convoy” is gaining traction on a new crowdfunding platform after GoFundMe closed its doors to the movement.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the group had raised more than $6.3 million from 69,661 donors on GiveSendGo, which describes itself as the “#1 Free Christian Crowdfunding Site.”
The new campaign states that funds raised will help cover fuel costs for truckers protesting across Canada and will also contribute to food and accommodation costs, “to help ease the pressure of this daunting task.”
“To ensure your generous donations go smoothly, the good folks at GiveSendGo will send donations directly to our bulk fuel supplier and work out the details now, meaning your hard-earned money goes straight to who it was intended for and what it needs does not transit through anyone else,” reads the page’s description.
“Any remaining donations will be donated to a credible veterans organization to be chosen by the donors.”
However, in a statement on Monday, GiveSendGo said it had been in contact with campaign organizers and received “full assurance” that all funds raised will be used to provide humanitarian aid and legal support to truckers.
Last Friday, GoFundMe took down the group’s fundraising page, where they had raised more than $10 million, after saying the convoy goals violated the platform‘s terms.
“We now have evidence from law enforcement that the previously peaceful protest has turned into an occupation, with police reports of violence and other illegal activity,” read a GoFundMe statement.
A first million dollars had already been paid to the organizers of the demonstrations. The rest of the money will be donated directly to donors.
For nearly two weeks, the Ottawa-based convoy rally jammed the nation’s capital downtown, shutting down businesses, obstructing traffic and generating noise pollution prompting lawsuits. All in an effort to convince elected officials to remove all vaccination mandates and other public health restrictions.
The protests have drawn worldwide attention, especially in the United States
Many media personalities, political strategists and elected officials in the United States have applauded the movement for its quest to restore “freedom”.
While information on the donors, their location and their intent remains limited, Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly indicated at a press conference last week that there may be links to the United States.
“We are now aware of an important element of the United States who was involved in the financing, the organization,” he said.
GiveSendGo provides a list of donations, but many supporters are identified as “anonymous” and provide no information about their location. Amounts range from $10 to $25,000.
In the comments section, the donors urge the convoy not to quit, to keep fighting for the working class, and to keep standing up against “tyranny.” Some directly challenge Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
In a video posted to the top of the fundraising page, convoy organizer Tamara Lich — a prairie-based political activist — said the group plans to be in Ottawa for “the long haul.”
“As long as it takes to make sure your rights and freedoms are restored,” she said.
The group hopes to raise $16 million.
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