McGill pro-Palestinian encampment: no arrests after confrontation between demonstrators, counter-protesters

By News Staff

There was high tension and increased police presence at McGill’s pro-Palestinian encampment Friday afternoon.

A group of about 10 counter-protesters were said to have confronted the demonstrators.

“They came up to the encampment quite close,” recounted Olivia Katz with the group Independent Jewish Voices. “We were chanting as we always do.

“They were escorted back to the edge of the walkway… I led a chant in Hebrew. We stood our ground and they were escorted out by the SPVM.

“The situation was de-escalated. We shall not be moved. We did remain undeterred.”

The university’s historic entrance, the Roddick Gates, were partially closed and several Montreal police officers were on site. No arrests were made.

“The fact that our campus is militarized is ridiculous,” Katz said.

Day 21 of pro-Palestinian encampment at Montreal’s McGill University on May 17, 2024. (Brice Petitfils, CityNews image)

Protesters have been occupying the campus’ lower field, demanding McGill divests from business with interests in Israel and cuts ties with Israeli institutions. Protesters have maintained they won’t move until their demands are met.

“The students united shall never be defeated,” Katz said. “We’re remaining here. We’ve had two failed injunctions against us.”

On Wednesday, Quebec’s Superior Court rejected McGill’s emergency injunction request to dismantle the encampment after a judge found university lawyers didn’t demonstrate an urgent need.

In a statement on Friday, McGill said it would move forward with the next steps in the process to seek an interlocutory injunction.

“We maintain our belief that McGill as a private property owner does have the right to authorize usage of its grounds as well as its buildings. McGill’s request for a provisional injunction did not seek to stop protests on its campus; it sought to stop an indefinite occupation of its property.

Day 20: pro-Palestinian encampment at Montreal’s McGill University

McGill says it respects the rights of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, but asks that students do so by respecting their policies and property rights.

“Throughout this process, we have remained open to dialogue, having met six times with representatives of the McGill community involved in the encampment between May 3 and 10,” the university wrote.

“We are committed to continuing these discussions in good faith, in hopes that this engagement may lead to a solution.”

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