Protesters set up encampment at McGill University in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza

An encampment on McGill University’s downtown campus in support of Palestinians in Gaza was still going strong on Sunday.Several tents went up after 1:30 p.m. Saturday. A ring of more than 100 young people formed around the encampment as they chanted slogans like “Palestine will live forever.”The protesters also held up signs with messages like “McGill funds genocide.”The protest was peaceful and within sight of several police vehicles parked near the Roddick Gates on Sherbrooke St.

A person who declined to give her name described herself as a volunteer for the protest and said the protesters had been in talks with the university, but the administration asked them not to put up the tents. She also said they planned to be there “indefinitely.”Just before 3:30 p.m. Saturday, the protesters on the grounds were joined by a large group that marched down Sherbrooke St. in a demonstration that apparently was planned in advance, as it was escorted by police officers on bicycles.

A woman leading the protest said they were students from Concordia and McGill.A McGill student who was part of the protest spoke to the Gazette, but declined to give her name.“We are here because we ran an institutional campaign last semester. We proposed a policy against genocide (in Gaza),” the young woman said. “We put it in the ballots and students voted overwhelmingly in support of it, about 80 per cent, and it had a record turnout for voters.

“We had a 30 per cent turnout when the referendums usually get about 10 per cent at most.“(McGill’s) administration clamped down and completely ignored what came of the vote, and so we decided to heed the calls (of other students) in the U.S. and we’re committed to staying here.”The McGill student said the march down Sherbrooke St. is a weekly event and it happened to coincide with the encampment set up on the grounds of the university.“You students have bravely defied your administration who month after month have caused repression. (Protesters) are doing so bravely and courageously because they know they are on the side of justice,” a woman shouted into a bullhorn as the two protests merged.

“They are setting up encampments where they will be indefinitely until their administrations clearly divest (from financial ties with Israel).”More than two dozen tents had been pitched at the McGill campus by Sunday afternoon, with a steady stream of visitors stopping by to drop off donations and supplies.Quebec Higher Education Minister Pascale Déry told reporters on Sunday that she is “very preoccupied and concerned about the situation on campus because we’ve seen what happened in the last couple weeks and days in the United States and Europe.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *