(The Center Square) – A movement of truckers protesting vaccine mandates in Canada has garnered international attention and now is spreading to the U.S.
The Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin to local law enforcement this week, telling them protests from truck drivers could disrupt the Super Bowl this Sunday and President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on March 1.
The “Freedom Convoy” began in Canada after the nation last month implemented a vaccine mandate to cross the U.S.-Canada border, a trip truckers make regularly. The DHS memo was first reported by Yahoo News.
DHS told law enforcement officials the agency has “received reports of truck drivers potentially planning to block roads in major metropolitan cities in the United States in protest of, among other things, vaccine mandates. The convoy will potentially begin in California early as mid-February, potentially impacting the Super Bowl scheduled for 13 February and the State of the Union address scheduled for 1 March.”
Meanwhile, the “Freedom Convoy” has continued to pressure politicians along the U.S.-Canada border. Michigan’s Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called on Canadian authorities “to quickly resolve the ongoing Ambassador Bridge closure,” which has been blocked by the truckers and connects Ottawa to Detroit.
“It is imperative that Canadian local, provincial, and national governments de-escalate this economic blockade,” Whitmer said in a statement. “They must take all necessary and appropriate steps to immediately and safely reopen traffic so we can continue growing our economy, supporting good-paying jobs, and lowering costs for families.”
The Freedom Convoy gained more attention with an online fundraiser through the site, GoFundMe, which raised more than $10 million. GoFundMe, though, sparked backlash when they said the funds would be redirected to another charity because of controversy surrounding the trucking movement.
That announcement drew criticism and threats of legal inquiry from attorneys general in both Florida and Texas.
Soon, GoFundMe changed their decision, announcing they would refund all donations. GoFundMe claimed the protest had become violent, though media in Ottawa reported few violent incidents.
“GoFundMe supports peaceful protests and we believe that was the intention of the Freedom Convoy 2022 fundraiser when it was first created,” the company said. “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.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Wednesday his office will investigate the online fundraising company over the incident and demanded a litany of documents from the company by the end of the month.
“The Office of the Attorney General is investigating the past and present practices of GoFundMe Inc,” the AG office said in a letter to GoFundMe. “The general subject matter of the investigation is to determine whether this entity is engaging in practices that may violate the Deceptive Trade Practices Act…”