close
close
blog

Palestinian supporters dismantle Tabaret camp, report says

Article content

Student protesters at the University of Ottawa have vacated their camp, after more than two months of protesting against the war in Gaza.

In a statement released early Wednesday morning, Labour for Palestine Ottawa and Occupy Tabaret groups said the students “decided to leave the encampment on Tabaret Lawn.”

“We reached an impasse in negotiations as a direct result of the university’s claim that it had no power to do anything with the funds it managed and in fact had full control over them,” Sumayya Kheireddine, a student leader of Occupy Tabaret, said in a statement.

Announcement 2

Article content

“At best, this university and its president are out of touch with reality. At worst, they are simply cruel, driven solely by greed and immune to the suffering of others.”

By 10 a.m. on Wednesday, most of the camp had been cleared. All that remained were a few empty tents, tarps, blankets, wires and debris. Protest signs were posted around the staircase leading to Tabaret Hall, reading, among other things, “The children of Gaza will hunt you down.”

“Divestment” was spray-painted in blood red on the pillars of Tabaret Hall, while a Palestinian flag hung from the building.

pro-palestinian camp
The pro-Palestinian encampment on the grounds of the University of Ottawa was dismantled on July 10, 2024. Photograph by Jean Levac /Postmedia

Police and campus security teams were dismantling what was left and putting up barricades, blocking public access to the lawn.

“Police liaison teams are working with the University of Ottawa to help relocate homeless people from the encampment. They are coordinating with the Salvation Army outreach team and area shelters to ensure they have a space to stay,” said Constable Cailey Walker of the Ottawa Police Service.

The Salvation Army’s outreach and housing services support team was helping homeless people who had joined the student protest in recent days.

Announcement 3

Article content

On social media, the student group INSAF said the camp was “just one of many tactics” used to achieve its demands that the university divest from its financial involvement with Israel.

“From the beginning of negotiations with the university administration, we sat at the table with an open mind, suggesting various ways to meet our demands, from simple policy changes to the mere recognition of anti-Palestinian racism,” the social media post reads. “The university responded with evasions, speaking to us in bureaucratic jargon and completely dismissing our very reasonable demands.”

In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, university president Jacques Frémont said protesters left the night before, leaving the site in “a deplorable state,” and that university staff had begun cleanup efforts.

“We condemn the acts of vandalism committed by the protesters before they left the site, which add to the already considerable damage in the area around Tabaret since the encampment was set up and continue to generate enormous costs for the University,” said Frémont. “The Ottawa Police Service is on site to assess the situation, including the damage.”

Announcement 4

Article content

LIVE UPDATES: Heavy police presence as McGill begins dismantling camp

pro-palestinian camp
One of the few remaining people in the pro-Palestinian camp that was being persuaded to leave the University of Ottawa grounds was dismantled on July 10, 2024. Photograph by Jean Levac /Postmedia

The students’ demands included full disclosure of all direct and indirect investments made by the university and divestment from corporations and institutions associated with Israel and its military.

Frémont said the university “has managed the risks associated with unauthorized encampment on university property while maintaining an open dialogue with good-faith student organizers to find peaceful ways to end it,” and had put forward “a number of serious proposals to address their concerns and support those displaced by the war,” but “despite the many constructive conversations we had, the organizers showed no willingness to compromise. Instead, they responded by escalating their tactics, including more graffiti and physical assaults directed at our staff,” Frémont said.

We have stated many times that the values ​​of academic freedom and freedom of expression are fundamental to our mission, and we will continue to uphold them. However, illegally occupying spaces is not free speech, as the Ontario Superior Court recently ruled. Neither is erecting fences around the encampment or restricting access only to those who agree with the organizers. These are simply violations of the right of others to use those spaces.”

Announcement 5

Article content

Frémont added that the university “fully recognizes the pain caused by the violence that has unfolded in the Middle East since October of last year” and said support services are available.

“It is important that we prepare for the new academic year with a spirit of respect and openness, to ensure that every member of our community feels safe and protected, so that they can thrive.”

Protesting students had previously said they were concerned the university would bring in the Ottawa Police Services to dismantle the encampment.

Meanwhile, in Montreal, police and university officials dismantled the McGill University encampment. University officials said mid-morning that the dismantling of the encampment “is taking place peacefully.”

Also last week, pro-Palestinian protesters ended their encampment at the University of Toronto after an Ontario judge ordered the group to vacate the property. Similar protests also ended at the University of British Columbia and Western University.

The Israeli military urged all Palestinians to leave Gaza City and head south on Wednesday as troops advance a new offensive in northern, southern and central Gaza, the Associated Press reported. The development comes as U.S., Egyptian and Qatari negotiators meet with Israeli officials in Doha in an attempt to reach a ceasefire deal with Hamas militants in Gaza.

Announcement 6

Article content

The United Nations says up to 2.3 million Gazans are living in tent camps in central and southern Gaza, and more than 200,000 people remain in the northern part of the besieged enclave.

Israel has killed more than 38,000 people and wounded more than 88,000, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians.

SEE MORE PHOTOS

pro-palestinian camp
The pro-Palestinian encampment on the grounds of the University of Ottawa was dismantled on July 10, 2024. Photograph by Jean Levac /Postmedia
pro-palestinian camp
The pro-Palestinian encampment on the grounds of the University of Ottawa was dismantled on July 10, 2024. Photograph by Jean Levac /Postmedia
Palestinian camp
The pro-Palestinian encampment on the grounds of the University of Ottawa was dismantled on July 10, 2024. Photograph by Jean Levac /Postmedia
pro-palestinian camp
The pro-Palestinian encampment on the grounds of the University of Ottawa was dismantled on July 10, 2024. Photograph by Jean Levac /Postmedia
Palestinian camp
One of the few remaining people in the pro-Palestinian camp that was being persuaded to leave the University of Ottawa grounds was dismantled on July 10, 2024. Photograph by Jean Levac /Postmedia
Palestinian camp
The pro-Palestinian encampment on the grounds of the University of Ottawa was dismantled on July 10, 2024. Photograph by Jean Levac /Postmedia
pro-palestinian camp
The pro-Palestinian encampment on the grounds of the University of Ottawa was dismantled on July 10, 2024. Photograph by Jean Levac /Postmedia
pro-palestinian camp
The pro-Palestinian encampment on the grounds of the University of Ottawa was dismantled on July 10, 2024. Photograph by Jean Levac /Postmedia

With files from Postmedia and Associated Press.

Recommended by Editorial

Article content

Related Articles

Back to top button