Monday, April 29, 2024

Wave of Palestine solidarity encampments reaches Montreal


Palestine solidarity Montreal Canada McGill university student activism Gaza genocide divestment Israel arms industry complicity

Following the example set by students in the United States, solidarity encampments opposed to the Israeli state's assault on Gaza have now spread to campuses in Canada and around the world

Solidarity spreads fast. As the wave of student encampments has grown on postsecondary campuses across the United States, in protest of academia’s collusion with Israeli apartheid and its ongoing war in Gaza, students at McGill and Concordia Universities have followed suit. On Saturday, April 27, they erected camps on the grounds of McGill in downtown Montreal.

The organizers, comprised of Students for Palestinian Human Rights along with other solidarity groups, have installed the camps on the open ground next to the university’s main entrance off Sherbrooke Street. The camps were set up Saturday morning and supporters trickled in through the afternoon to show support. By the evening, hundreds were present at the site. The liberated zone, as the campers refer to it, is fenced off. Within the fence is where the activists are spending their days and nights in protest.

There has been a visible outpouring of support. Apart from showing up in solidarity, people have been donating food, water, and camping supplies. Despite the rain overnight, the spirit at the camps on the second day was high and the mood has been both defiant and festive, with a chorus of chants and music to keep the energy going. The camps are now the go-to spot for pro-Palestine activists and supporters in Montreal.

As has been the case with the protests since the start of the war in October, the social makeup of the crowd is extremely diverse, with Muslims, Arabs, and progressive Jews, as well as queer groups, on the forefront. Any accusation of anti-semitism is wide off the mark.

The organizers plan to maintain the camps until all their demands are met – complete divestment from companies that do business with Israel, and ending relations with Israeli universities. “We want all the focus we are drawing to be put straight back on what is happening in Palestine,” one member of the camps' media team told me. (She asked to remain anonymous out of concern about potential reprisals from her university.) “We are calling on both our university and Canada to end their complicity in the genocide.”  (more...)

Wave of Palestine solidarity encampments reaches Montreal

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