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McGill to ask for injunction to dismantle pro-Palestinian encampment on its grounds

MONTREAL — Lawyers for McGill University will be going to court today seeking an injunction to dismantle the pro-Palestinian encampment that has been on its grounds since last month. 

In a judicial application for an injunction dated Friday, McGill says the encampment poses a “security, safety and public health risk” and has caused tensions to escalate on campus.

The filing cites “fierce verbal exchanges” between protesters and counter-protesters earlier this month, barrels of possible “human waste” on site, possible fire code breaches and the encampment’s potential as a “magnet” for further clashes with counterdemonstrators.  

The protesters are demanding the university divest from companies they say are complicit in what they describe as Israel’s occupation of Palestine, and cut ties with Israeli institutions.

The protesters fenced off an area containing dozens of tents on McGill’s lower field on April 27, following a wave of similar campus protests in the United States.

The university is 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 President Deep Saini issued a statement on Friday saying the university is committed to discussing the protesters’ concerns in good faith, even if an order is granted.

On top of a doubling of the security detail on the quad, McGill said it will likely have to spend more than $700,000 on an alternate venue for spring convocation ceremonies that are typically held on the grounds partially occupied by the protesters.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 13, 2024. 

The Canadian Press

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