return to sender
Fundraising website GoFundMe has removed a fundraiser for Canada's "Freedom Convoy" protest against the country's COVID-19 policies and said in a statement released Friday that it will withhold and return any donations made to support the protesting truckers and their allies.
GoFundMe originally said it would allow individual users to apply for refunds and would "work with organizers to send all remaining funds to credible and established charities verified by GoFundMe," but the company soon abandoned this approach.
Early Saturday morning, GoFundMe posted a tweet announcing they "will be refunding all donations to the Freedom Convoy 2022 fundraiser. This refund will happen automatically — you do not need to submit a request. Donors can expect to see refunds within seven to 10 business days."
Around 1 million Canadian dollars have already been released to the organizers of the protests, which have blocked streets in Ottawa and kept residents awake with loud honking. About 10 million Canadian dollars ($7.9 million American) will be refunded, BBC reported.
Per BBC, three protesters have been arrested so far — "one for carrying a weapon, one charged with mischief under $5,000, and another with uttering threats on social media." GoFundMe said in the Friday statement that it banned fundraising for the protest after learning "from law enforcement that the previously peaceful demonstration has become an occupation, with police reports of violence and other unlawful activity."
Elsewhere in Canada, the Freedom Convoy is gaining ground. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said Thursday he will announce early next week "a firm date to end" the province's vaccine passport policy, The Globe and Mail reported. One opinion writer for CBC accused Kenney of "caving in to the truckers and their illegal blockade" of an Alberta-Montana border crossing.