May 17th, 2024

“A tiny city:” Pro-Palestinian campus protesters organize for another week


By The Canadian Press on May 5, 2024.

A group of pro-Palestinian protesters who have set up dozens of tents at McGill University's downtown Montreal campus say they're better organized and prepared than ever as the protest stretches into a second week. Pro-Palestinian activists at their encampment on the McGill University campus in Montreal, Wednesday, May 1, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

MONTREAL – A group of pro-Palestinian protesters who have set up an encampment at McGill University’s downtown Montreal campus say they’re better organized and prepared than ever as the protest stretches into a second week.

Protester Ari Nahman says the encampment has become a “tiny city” complete with dozens of rainproofed tents, a library, a stockpile of donated supplies and makeshift wooden sidewalks to keep the mud at bay.

Today, encampment members could be seen digging a shallow trench to drain away the heavy rain, as others staffed a tent operating as a “free store” serving up hot coffee, food and rain gear.

Pro-Palestinian activists have also set up tents at the University of Toronto, the University of Ottawa and the University of British Columbia campus in Vancouver, following a wave of similar protests at campuses in the United States linked to the Israel-Hamas war.

Opponents of the encampments have said the protests are illegal and make some Jewish students feel unsafe, and both McGill and Premier Fran├žois Legault have asked police to help dismantle the tents in Montreal.

Nahman, a member of Independent Jewish Voices Concordia, says the campers want to leave but won’t do so until their universities agree to divest funds from companies protesters say are supporting Israel’s actions against Palestinians.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 5, 2024.

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