Day 18: Quebec judge’s decision awaited on whether pro-Palestinian encampment at McGill can stay put

“Morale and energy are still incredibly high," said a student at the pro-Palestinian encampment at Montreal's McGill University's, now on day 18, as they await a Quebec judge's decision on whether they can stay put. Alyssia Rubertucci reports.

By News Staff

On Tuesday, day 18 of the pro-Palestinian encampment on McGill University’s downtown Montreal campus, a court decision is awaited, after lawyers for McGill filed an injunction to dismantle it.

“Morale and energy are still incredibly high and the students are still steadfast in sustaining this camp until their material demands are met,” said one of the representatives of SPHR McGill who did not wish to be identified.

The university asking a judge to order the protesters to stop camping on or occupying its grounds and to authorize Montreal police to assist the school in dismantling the encampment if called upon.

McGill says the encampment poses a “security, safety and public health risk” and has caused tensions to escalate on campus. 

The arguments were heard at the Montreal courthouse Monday and it’s up to a Superior Court judge to weigh McGill’s rights to their property and the students’ rights to freedom of expression.

As of Tuesday afternoon, no decision had been rendered And protesters at the camp saying they’re staying put.

“We see this injunction really as a distraction from the real reason why we are here which is because there’s an ongoing genocide,” said the student participating in the encampment.

The injunction request cites what they are calling “fierce verbal exchanges” between protesters and counter-protesters earlier this month and possible further clashes with counter protesters.

McGill lawyers on Monday said people are allowed to protest there, but that there’s a limit between protesting with a group and slogans and building a camp that is fenced off and structured in an almost permanent way.

“We have confidence that this injunction will not pass,” said the student. “It’s the second injunction that is being placed on this encampment and SPVM representatives have affirmed that our encampment does not violate any laws.”

Montreal police have been monitoring the camp and made it clear any intervention on their part will be based on the camp’s legal situation.

Meanwhile, participants gathered in front of the encampment for a rally on Tuesday afternoon, with chants, like “disclose, divest, we will not stop, we will not rest.” They are calling on McGill University to sever ties with businesses they say are linked to Israel and Israeli institutions.

“This is what has pushed these students to take these exceptional measures essentially and to make sure that their demands are heard and heeded,” the student said.

McGill university said they won’t comment until a decision comes in – which could now only come on Wednesday. 

“Students will stay put until these demands are materially met or until their demands are met in a significant way.”

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