Canada: Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson Declares State Of Emergency, Urges Companies To Follow GoFundMe And Not Do Business With Freedom Convoy

by Swarajya Staff - Feb 7, 2022 12:09 PM +05:30 IST
Canada: Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson Declares State Of Emergency, Urges Companies To Follow GoFundMe And Not Do Business With Freedom ConvoyFreedom Convoy Ottawa
Snapshot
  • Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson today declared a state of emergency for the City of Ottawa due to the ongoing demonstration.

    Ottawa mayor Jim Watson urged other companies to follow the example set by crowdfunding platform GoFundMe and refrain from doing business with freedom convoy.

    Braving extremely cold weather, thousands of truckers from British Columbia, Atlantic Canada, and other place converged on Ottawa to demonstrate against the policies of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau-led federal government and pandemic restrictions.

Ottawa mayor Jim Watson urged other companies to follow the example set by crowdfunding platform GoFundMe and refrain from doing business with freedom convoy.

"These protesters have been holding our city hostage for a week now, and I'm hopeful that limiting their access to funding and resources will restrict their ability to remain in Ottawa," Watson stated.

“I am imploring similar crowdfunding platforms to take the same position and not enable the group in its fundraising efforts,” he said.

Watson has declared a state of emergency in the capital city over ongoing trucker protests.

"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.' a statement by Mayor's office read.

On Friday, crowdfunding platform GoFundMe has announced that it is blocking the fundraising efforts of the activists associated with Canadian Freedom convoy claiming that the movement violated its terms of service.

Donations to “Freedom Convoy 2022” on GoFundMe surpassed more than C$10 million ($7.8 million) earlier this week.

Over the course of the protest, movement organisers raised donations from public to support fuel, food, and lodging for thousands of truckers from British Columbia, Atlantic Canada, and other place converged on Ottawa to demonstrate against the policies of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau-led federal government and pandemic restrictions.

On Friday, GoFundMe issued a statement explaining the removal of the fund-raiser. It claimed that while the protest was peaceful when the fund-raiser was first created, it now had “evidence from law enforcement that the previously peaceful demonstration has become an occupation, with police reports of violence and other unlawful activity”.

“Organisers 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 travelled to Ottawa to participate in a peaceful protest,” it continued. “Given how this situation has evolved, no further funds will be directly distributed to the Freedom Convoy organizers.”

Even as it deprived the organisers the proceeds of the fund raise, GoFundMe said that it will transfer the collected amount to “credible and established charities” chosen by them in case any donors to the fund-raiser do not request a full refund by February 19.

On Friday, Ottawa resident Zexi Li filed a lawsuit in Ontario Superior Court, against freedom convoy seeking damages for "emotional and mental distress, headaches, sleeping difficulties, difficulty concentrating and interference with quiet enjoyment of her home." The suit seeks $9.8 million in damages plus costs for participants in the potential class action.

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