McGill University seeks injunction to force dismantling of encampment

McGill University seeks injunction to force dismantling of encampment
McGill University seeks injunction to force dismantling of encampment

MONTREAL — Lawyers for McGill University will appear in court on Monday to seek an injunction aimed at forcing the dismantling of the pro-Palestinian encampment set up on campus since the end of April.

In a legal request for an injunction dated last Friday, McGill University claims that the encampment presents a “safety, security and health risk.” She argues that it caused an escalation of tensions on campus.

The request cites “fierce verbal exchanges” between protesters and counter-protesters earlier this month, barrels of possible “human waste” at the site, possible fire code violations and the camp’s potential to take action as a “magnet” for further clashes with counter-protesters.

For their part, protesters are demanding that the university withdraw its investments from companies they consider complicit in what it describes as Israel’s occupation of Palestine. They also demand that McGill cut its ties with Israeli institutions.

Protesters fenced off an area containing dozens of tents in McGill’s lower grounds on April 27, following a wave of similar protests on campuses across the United States.

University management is asking a judge to order protesters to stop camping or occupying its grounds. She also wants the Montreal police to be authorized to help her dismantle the encampment if necessary.

McGill President Deep Saini issued a statement Friday assuring that management is committed to discussing protesters’ concerns in good faith, even if an order is granted.

In addition to doubling campus security, McGill said it will likely have to spend more than $700,000 to rent another venue to hold graduation ceremonies, which usually take place on the grounds partially occupied by the demonstrators.

Furthermore, a new pro-Palestinian encampment was erected on Sunday, this time at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM).

The participants’ demands are similar to those of demonstrators who have gathered on other campuses, but they also want to show their support for the activists who are participating in the encampment on the grounds of McGill University in the wake of the demand for injunction.

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