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Pro-Palestinian student protesters end encampment at U of O

Pro-Palestinian student protesters end encampment at U of O
Pro-Palestinian student protesters end encampment at U of O

اخبار العرب-كندا 24: الأربعاء 10 يوليو 2024 01:13 مساءً

Demonstrators calling on the University of Ottawa to divest from companies they say have ties to Israel and the conflict in Gaza have ended their encampment on the campus grounds.

On July 9, the pro-Palestinian demonstrators began taking down tents, posters and flags on Tabaret Lawn, signalling an end their months-long encampment.

The organizations behind the encampment, Labour for Palestine and INSAF, issued a statement early Wednesday morning, announcing students have "have elected to vacate the encampment on Tabaret Lawn after eleven weeks."

"We reached an impasse in negotiations as the direct result of the university claiming they had zero powers to do anything about the funds they manage and in fact do have full control over," said Sumayya Kheireddine, president of INSAF, in a statement.

"At best, this university and President are out of touch with reality. At worst, they are simply cruel, and only guided by greed and immune to the suffering of others," she added.

The university has yet to respond to the latest statement from the group. In his last public statement on the encampment in June, Interim Provost and Vice-President of Academic Affairs Jacques Beauvais said the school had put forth "serious proposals to address the organizers' concerns, both economic and academic" and had "reaffirmed our commitment to maintaining responsible investment practices," but said organizers rejected their proposals.

Other encampments dismantling this week

The evacuation from the campus grounds follows the dismantling of other pro-Palestinian encampments across the country.

Last week, pro-Palestinian protestors dismantled their encampment at the University of Toronto after an Ontario judge granted an injunction ordering them to vacate the area.

Amnesty International Canada labelled the U of T ruling as "a setback on the right of peaceful assembly" arguing that the injunction will have a "chilling effect on future peaceful demonstrations."

Protestors at the pro-Palestinian encampment at the University of Guelph received a trespass notice from the school Monday. Wednesday morning also saw the dismantling of the pro-Palestinian encampment at McGill university.

'Somebody has to be held accountable'

The University of Ottawa encampment drew support with some faculty, with more than 200 faculty and staff at the university as well as Carleton University and Saint Paul University signing a letter of solidarity. But some faculty and student groups also expressed concerns about the safety of the camp.

One part-time professor at the University of Ottawa said on Wednesday that "somebody has to be held accountable for this terrible act of vandalism."

The former student turned part-time instructor, George Monastiriakos, told CBC News that he "looks forward to seeing how the university administration handles" any potential damage to campus property.

"What we see here is the culmination of the University of Ottawa failing to take action," Monastiriakos said, referring to various protest signs and sprayed on graffiti on campus property.

"I do hope that there is a return to normalcy," he said.

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