OTTAWA — Crowdfunding site GoFundMe will reimburse or redirect to charities the vast majority of the more than $10 million raised by demonstrators protesting COVID-19 measures in Ottawa, saying the event has become an occupation.

The move could deny participants a vital source of funds as Ottawa braces for a new wave of protesters slated to arrive in the national capital this weekend.

GoFundMe says it supports peaceful protest and that it believes that was the initial intention of the Ottawa event.

The crowdfunding site says it now has evidence from law enforcement that the demonstration “has become an occupation, with police reports of violence and other unlawful activity.”

GoFundMe says the fundraiser has been removed from its platform because it violates the site’s terms of service, which prohibit the promotion of violence and harassment.

An initial $1 million was released to organizers earlier this week but, given how things have evolved, GoFundMe will issue refunds to donors and work with organizers to send remaining funds to “credible and established charities.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 4, 2022.