McGill University says a pro-Palestinian camp on its central campus is being dismantled

MONTREAL – MONTREAL (AP) – McGill University closed its downtown campus Wednesday as Montreal police descended in large numbers to help clear a pro-Palestinian encampment that has been there for weeks.

McGill President Deep Saini called the camp at the Canadian university, one of many that had sprung up on campuses in North America since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, “a heavily fortified focal point for threats and violence, largely organized by individuals who are not part of our university community.”

In pounding rain, pro-Palestinian protesters carried their belongings from the campus, as bulldozers and security forces dismantled the camp that had been located on the lower level of the school.

“It was officially the last stand. There’s nobody in the camp anymore,” said protester Félix Burt, 20, standing a block from McGill’s lower field, where a pile of tents and wooden pallets was all that remained of the protest site.

A Montreal police spokesman said one person was arrested Wednesday for assaulting a security agent.

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

Déry said the atmosphere on campus has become “toxic” and expressed hope that things would be calmer when fall classes begin.

Zaina Karim, a McGill student who was not inside the camp when the dismantling began, said protesters will continue until the university discloses and cuts its ties to Israel.

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

Campus protesters have demanded that the university end its investments linked to Israel’s military and cut ties with Israeli institutions over the Gaza offensive.

In recent months, students on campuses across North America have set up camps, occupied buildings and led protests to call on colleges and universities to divest their donations from companies that do business with Israel or that support its war in Gaza.

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