Montreal police dismantle anti-Israel encampment at McGill University; 1 arrested

MONTREAL — McGill University has closed its downtown campus as Montreal police descend in large numbers to help clear a pro-Palestinian encampment that has been there for weeks.

McGill president Deep Saini calls the encampment at the Canadian university, one of many that had sprung up on campuses across North America since the Hamas-led October 7 onslaught that started the war in Gaza, “a heavily fortified focal point for intimidation and violence, organized largely by individuals who are not part of our university community.”

Under pounding rain, pro-Palestinian protesters carry their belongings off campus, as bulldozers and security forces dismantle the encampment that had been on the school’s lower field.

“That was officially the last stand. There’s nobody in the encampment anymore,” says protester Félix Burt, 20, standing a block from McGill’s lower field, where a pile of tents and wooden pallets were what remained of the protest site.

A Montreal police spokesman says one person was arrested on for assault on a security agent.

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

Déry says the atmosphere on campuses has become “toxic,” and expresses hope that things will be calmer by the time fall classes begin.

Zaina Karim, a McGill student who wasn’t inside the camp when the dismantlement began, says protesters will persist until the university discloses and cuts its ties with Israel.

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

Campus protesters have demanded the university end its investments connected to Israel’s military and cuts ties with Israeli institutions over the offensive in Gaza.

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