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Pro-Palestinian encampment at McGill’s downtown Montreal campus being dismantled

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MONTREAL — McGill University closed its downtown campus on Wednesday as Montreal police descended in large numbers to help clear a pro-Palestinian encampment.

The university said the more-than-10-week-old encampment was being dismantled, “to protect the security of the McGill community and the integrity of our property.”

In a statement posted to its website on Wednesday morning, it said security personnel and police were on site.

“We regret the considerable inconvenience that this necessary step will cause for many members of our community,” the statement said.

Police, some dressed in riot gear, cordoned off streets leading to the site of the encampment at the university’s lower field, blocking access, while a crowd of demonstrators gathered by the police line.

“The students are steadfast in their struggle,” said Zeyad Abisaab, a Concordia student, who looked on from the street and said he had previously been part of a student-led Palestinian solidarity group.

A group of protesters stood in front of the encampment, facing construction equipment that has been brought in to remove them. Neither police, security agents nor construction workers had moved in on encampment as of about 8 a.m.

The McGill statement said classes typically held on campus would be moved online as it advised students and faculty to stay away. Libraries and campus daycares were also be closed.

Campus protesters have demanded the university ends its investments connected to Israel’s military and cuts ties with Israeli institutions over the offensive in Gaza.

A pro-Palestinian encampment in the heart of Montreal’s financial district was dismantled by police last week.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 10, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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