Pro-Palestinian encampment: victory for UQAM in its request for an injunction

Pro-Palestinian encampment: victory for UQAM in its request for an injunction
Pro-Palestinian encampment: victory for UQAM in its request for an injunction

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators camped on UQAM grounds will no longer be able to do what they want, a judge ruled, ordering them, among other things, to let firefighters check that the premises are safe.

“In fact, it is a question of properly framing the event which is currently taking place in the interior courtyard of the complex [de l’édifice du centre-ville]and this, so that it takes place in complete safety for all parties,” ruled Judge Louis J. Gouin, this Monday at the Montreal courthouse.

The judge thus granted an injunction to UQÀM, which demanded certain limitations in connection with the encampment where pro-Palestinian demonstrators are gathered.

In addition to giving access to firefighters, they will have to clear tents two meters from buildings and clear any material that obstructs doors and windows.

They will also have to remove any equipment that blocks exterior cameras from buildings.

“These security measures will not interfere with the defendants’ exercise of their right to freedom of expression, including the right to demonstrate,” the decision reads.

And even if the demonstrators appeal the decision, they will still have to comply while awaiting the result, the judge said, explaining that it is valid until June 6. UQÀM could, however, request that it be renewed.

Priority security

In his decision, the judge recalled that the encampment had been erected two weeks ago, among other things using construction site fences and tarpaulins, “thus preventing almost all visibility inside”, while blocking doors to the Heart of Sciences Pavilion.

It is thus the security aspect which tipped the scales in favor of UQÀM, among other things due to the use of unprotected electrical extension cords in the camp, using the university’s electrical outlets “without authorization”.

The demonstrators had for their part assured that a “friendly and convivial atmosphere prevails inside the camp” and that several doors were already no longer obstructed, making the issuance of an injunction unnecessary.

The judge, however, did not agree, recalling that it was urgent to ensure the safety of all.

“Putting these measures in place only reduces the surface area of ​​the encampment, without harming the right to demonstrate,” noted the magistrate.

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