McGill University says pro-Palestinian encampment on downtown campus is being dismantled

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MONTREAL (AP) — McGill University closed its downtown campus on Wednesday after Montreal police descended on the city in droves to help clear a pro-Palestinian camp that had been there for weeks.

McGill President Deep Saini called the camp at the Canadian university, one of many that have sprung up on campuses across North America since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas, “a highly amplified focal point of intimidation and violence, largely organized by individuals who are not part of our university community.”

Under pouring rain, pro-Palestinian protesters carried their belongings off campus as bulldozers and security forces dismantled the camp in the elementary school yard.

“That was officially the last stand. There is no one left in the camp,” said protester Félix Burt, 20, who stood a block from McGill’s lower field, where a pile of tents and wooden pallets remained of the protest site.

A Montreal police spokesperson said one person was arrested Wednesday for assaulting a security guard.

In Quebec City, Higher Education Minister Pascale Déry told reporters it was “time” to remove the protesters from the camp.

Déry said the atmosphere on campuses has become “toxic” and expressed hope that the situation will calm down by the time fall classes begin.

Zaina Karim, a McGill student who was not at the camp when the dismantling began, said the protesters will continue until the university takes a stand and cuts ties with Israel.

“This is not the end at all,” Karim said.

Protesters on campus are demanding that the university end its investments in the Israeli military and cut ties with Israeli institutions over the offensive in Gaza.

In recent months, students on campuses across North America have built camps, occupied buildings and led protests calling on colleges and universities to divest their donations of companies doing business with Israel or those who support the war in Gaza.

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