Canada has been experiencing unprecedented protests in the country for more than a week. At the head of them, as the most visible symbol, the ‘Freedom Convoy’: thousands of truckers who are blocking key points in the country’s capital with the aim of getting the restrictions to end by COVID-19 (such as mandatory vaccination)… and that the person responsible for its approval resign, the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau —who even moved to a “secret location” for several days for “his safety”— .
But how did a protest by truckers in Canada end up sparking controversy among prominent figures in the American technology industry?
GoFundMe has some policies to enforce…
The organizers of the ‘Freedom Convoy’ had resorted to GoFundMe, the popular US online donation platform, as a way of channeling financial aid from sympathizers to cover their food, fuel and lodging expenses, and they had raised 10 million Canadian dollars (about 7.5 million euros).
However, on January 25, GoFundMe notified them that it had proceeded to block the funds raised until they presented a detailed plan on how they intended to distribute them.
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Although initially, it released part of that money to allow the payment of fuel, this past Friday those responsible for the platform decided definitively to suspend the collection campaign, alleging that the activities of the convoy were causing inconvenience to Ottawa residents and that this was against their policies.
The destination of the money already collected generated its own controversy, as GoFundMe suggested that the part of it that was not claimed by the donors would be distributed to the charities that the organizers of the rally chose… among those that had the ‘approval’ of the platform.
At that time, the Republican Governor of Florida, Ron De Santis, announced that he would put the GoFundMe ‘fraud’ case in the hands of the prosecution, which he accused of “appropriating” of donations. Shortly after, GoFundMe clarified that it would refund all donated money automatically, without the need for prior request, “to simplify the process for our users.”
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…but Elon Musk thought it was a nice double standard
The sum of all these GoFundMe obstacles to the Canadian truckers’ protest apparently outraged Elon Musk, who chose to post a meme on Twitter calling GoFundMe “professional thieves”, followed by another showing a screenshot of a tweet from the platform itself, publicly endorsing the cause of the ‘Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone’ or ‘CHAZ’.
‘CHAZ’ was a protest held in Seattle, during the height of the ‘Black Live Matters’ movement, which led to the practical separation of an entire district of the city (by barricades) for three weeks in the summer of 2020, during which the area was under the armed control of rapper and activist (and alleged sex trafficker) Raz Simone.
With this second tweet, Musk apparently intended to show GoFundMe’s double standards and to what extent his idea of ??’causing inconvenience to residents’ seems to have changed markedly in the last year and a half.
Finally, the ‘Freedom Convoy’ and its sympathizers have broken the siege of financing by starting a new campaign on Tallycoin, a bitcoin-based crowdfunding platform, whose managers are unable to appropriate and/or redirect the funds raised (€328,418, at the time of writing).