Pro-Palestinian encampment at McGill | “We will stay whatever happens”

“We will stay no matter what.” » The demonstrators of the Propalestian camp are preparing Tuesday for an imminent police intervention, requested by McGill University. And no one intends to leave.

“We are ready,” said a masked student, summarizing the general spirit of the demonstrators encountered Tuesday on the muddy ground of the improvised encampment.

Despite the threat of police intervention, no one intended to leave the site, which tripled in size in the space of a few days.

“We expected it,” she said, adding that she had trained for any eventuality. “We will stay whatever happens,” confirmed a spokesperson for the mobilization, Ali Salman.

A few hours earlier, the university management announced that it had requested the intervention of the police forces in the absence of a resolution.

Since Saturday, around a hundred students have camped on the university grounds, demanding that the administration cut all ties – financial and academic – with Israel.


The encampment tripled in size in a few days.

“We informed the participants that the installation of this camp was not authorized and gave them the necessary time to collect their belongings and leave the premises,” indicated the University in an email sent to the media.

A “heartbreaking” decision resulting from a “complex” situation, admitted the vice-chancellor of the university, Deep Saini. “This is by no means a decision I take lightly,” he added.

Despite the rain, supporters of the cause continued to arrive Tuesday with bags of food.

“I am very proud of these students. They risk being arrested, being deported. I cannot stay silent and do nothing,” testified Yasmine Dalloul, who had come to carry equipment.

The calm that reigned on the campus was momentarily disturbed when a man wearing a cap with the image of the Star of David entered the camp, forbidden access.


A man wearing a cap emblazoned with the Star of David attempted to enter the encampment.

“This land does not belong to you! “, he chanted, before being escorted outside.

The Minister of Higher Education, Pascale Déry, is “in contact” with the management of the establishment and is “closely monitoring” the situation.

“The university took the necessary decision to enforce its policy,” said its press officer, Simon Savignac.

An injunction against the encampment must be filed Tuesday afternoon at the Montreal courthouse.

According to a copy of the injunction consulted by The Pressthe plaintiffs are two McGill students who accuse the demonstrators of creating “a dangerous, hostile and violent environment.”

They are asking the court to ban “any protest related to the demonstration within a 100 meter radius” of the university.

“We will resist,” said a Palestinian student, who spent the night outside. “We will stay here until our demands are met. »

The administration is “complicit in genocide,” lamented the Palestinian student, adding that dismantling it would constitute repression.

According to her, the threats of dismantling are a “distraction”. “Meanwhile, the administration has not responded to our requests. »

On Monday, rumors were already circulating inside the camp about an imminent dismantling.

“We are ready for any confrontation,” declared a spokesperson for the demonstration, specifying that students were “ready to form strike pickets”.

According to the university, the campers did not make any proposals aimed at “advancing the dialogue.”

She also claims to have watched videos in which demonstrators make “blatantly anti-Semitic remarks”.

“I can say with certainty that there was no anti-Semitism, and I speak as a Jew,” replied an activist to The Press Monday.

Concerned elected officials

Federal Justice Minister Arif Virani deferred to university and provincial authorities. “It is up to McGill to check whether there is a violation of the rules on its own campus. You know very well that universities are managed by the provinces,” he maintained.

“It’s a very complex situation,” argued in the press scrum the one who attended the Montreal university establishment.

“The right to freedom of expression is protected by the Constitution, and that is important, but there are limits to freedom of expression,” Minister Virani added.

Asked to comment on the relevance of police intervention, the Minister of Public Security Dominic LeBlanc did not want to get involved.

“Listen, we don’t give (directives) to the police forces. The Montreal police have a lot of experience in this type of issue,” he said in front of the cameras.

With Tommy Chouinard and Mélanie Marquis, The Press


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