Court injunction seeks to ban encampment from McGill grounds

"For the protection of individuals," says Neil Oberman, lawyer two McGill students that filed an injunction, asking for demonstrations not to be held within 100 meters of the university due to the ongoing encampment. Alyssia Rubertucci reports.

By News Staff

A lawyer for two McGill University students filed an injunction at the Montreal courthouse Tuesday.

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The injunction is asking for demonstrations not to be held within 100 metres of the entrances of the university’s 154 buildings for a period of 10 days.

Attorney Neil Gary Oberman is arguing the encampment of the university grounds is causing prejudice and irreparable harm.

He says the plaintiffs don’t want to go to the campus because they don’t feel safe, and they believe encampment participants might block access to McGill.

“This suit was brought for the protection of individuals,” Oberman said. “It was done for the right reasons, will continue to be done for the right reasons. Don’t be swayed by a false narrative. The same narrative that they’re giving you is equivalent to the world being flat, there’s no potholes in Montreal and everything is perfectly fine. If you believe there are no potholes in Montreal, you can believe the other side.

“The reality is what it is. The evidence is there, the facts are there and look what they’re doing. They’re unlawfully there.”

McGill University encampment in solidarity with Gaza on April 28, 2024. (Swidda Rassy, CityNews)

A lawyer for some of the defendants named, including McGill’s student union, says the encampment doesn’t block access to school buildings, is peaceful, and has many Jewish participants.

The defendants also say it’s an abuse of the court system and a means to stifle criticism of Israel.

“The main argument we were making is that it’s abusive because basically what it’s asking for is to block out a big part of downtown to all protests, so peaceful protests of any kind,” said Sibel Ataogul, a lawyer for the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU).

“So for us that’s an egregious violation of the fundamental freedoms that we enjoy in Canada and Quebec and in Montreal.”

Lawyers for McGill University said although they do not authorize the encampment and don’t want it to continue, they have not applied to the court for an injunction.

The university has requested police’s assistance to dismantle the encampment. The SPVM said it received the request and is evaluating the various possible avenues while recommending a peaceful outcome.

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