Updated throughout the day on Wednesday, July 10. Questions/comments: [email protected]


Latest updates

  • Jewish groups welcome the camp’s removal
  • Operation began around 6 a.m.
  • Pro-Palestinian groups urge followers to go to McGill’s Roddick Gates
  • Photos: Heavy police presence around McGill
  • University says it’s dismantling pro-Palestinian encampment
  • McGill statement: Encampment is ‘magnet for violence and intimidation,’ McGill says
  • Dismantlement comes after violent protest, sparring between McGill and Plante

9 a.m.

Jewish groups welcome the camp’s removal

Joint statement published on social media by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and Federation CJA:

“For months we have called out the hate antisemitism and escalating radical behaviour at McGill University’s encampment.

“Today, McGill is taking steps to prioritize the safety and well-being of its campus community, and an end to the ongoing toxicity, hate glorification of terrorism and targeting of Jewish students on campus. The encampment is currently being dismantled.”


8:55 a.m.

Operation began around 6 a.m.

From The Canadian Press:

Police, some dressed in riot gear, cordoned off streets leading to the site of the encampment at the university’s lower field, blocking access, while a crowd of demonstrators gathered by the police line.

The operation began at around 6 a.m.

“The students are steadfast in their struggle,” said Zeyad Abisaab, a Concordia student, who looked on from the street and said he had previously been part of a student-led Palestinian solidarity group.

A group of protesters stood in front of the encampment, facing construction equipment that has been brought in to remove them. Neither police, security agents nor construction workers had moved in on encampment as of about 8 a.m.


8:35 a.m.

Pro-Palestinian groups urge followers to go to McGill’s Roddick Gates

The McGill chapter of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights and other groups that back the encampment are urging followers to descend on McGill this morning.

SPHR McGill has also posted videos of police officers on and around campus. In one message, the group said: “Student supporters and community members are currently being pushed further and further away from campus. Mobilize to the Roddick Gates. WE KEEP US SAFE.”

In another, it posted a video showing a front-end loader on campus, with the words: “Security guards surround students and activists, threatening them with arbitrary charges of breaking and entering. Shame on Deep Saini and McGill University!”

The Roddick Gates are McGill main entrance – on Sherbooke St. and McGill-College Ave.

Social media post shows encampment with the words: Encampment under attack by the SPVM
The McGill chapter of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights and other groups that back the encampment have urged followers to descend on McGill.


8:30 am.

Photos: Heavy police presence around McGill

Some photos, by Gazette photographer Pierre Obendrauf, show the heavy police presence around McGill. Officers are on foot, on bikes and on horseback. Some officers are in riot gear.

Police stand in a line on a city street

Police on bikes and in riot gear gather just off a street. A Palestinian flag can be seen in the background

The hood of a police car in the foreground, with police lined up in front of the Roddick Gates

Police stand on a street near a university campus


8:15 a.m.

McGill says it’s dismantling pro-Palestinian encampment

Early this morning, a private security firm hired by McGill read an eviction notice to the Pro-Palestinian protesters who have been occupying part of the downtown campus since April 27.

The operation comes less than 12 hours after about a dozen pro-Palestinian protesters disrupted a meeting of the Ville-Marie borough council. Mayor Valérie Plante and her fellow councillors were taken out of the meeting as a precaution. There were no arrests reported in connection with that incident.

Read our full story.


8:10 a.m.

Encampment is ‘magnet for violence and intimidation,’ McGill says

At 7:30 a.m., McGill president Deep Saini sent the following message to the university community:

Earlier today, in close collaboration with the City of Montreal and police, the university began the dismantlement of the encampment on the lower field of McGill’s downtown campus through the engagement of a qualified security firm. The downtown campus is closed today to protect the safety of our community.

While the situation is currently ongoing, I felt it important to provide you with an overview of the situation at hand, which has led to this morning’s developments. Please note that these efforts are being undertaken with extreme diligence while prioritizing the safety and well-being of all. That is why I ask you to follow the guidance of McGill’s Emergency Operations Centre, which is providing updates on this web page and through email, and to refrain from visiting campus today. Staff who provide essential services should remain home as well, unless called to campus by their supervisors.

McGill will always support the right to free expression and assembly, within the bounds of the laws and policies that keep us all safe. However, recent events go far beyond peaceful protest, and have inhibited the respectful exchange of views and ideas that is so essential to the university’s mission and to our sense of community.

People linked to the camp have harassed our community members, engaged in antisemitic intimidation, damaged and destroyed McGill property, forcefully occupied a building, clashed with police, and committed acts of assault. They also hosted a “revolutionary youth summer program” advertised with images of masked individuals holding assault rifles. The risks emanating from the camp have been escalating, steadily and dangerously.

Why we acted to dismantle the encampment

Montreal fire safety officials, police, and McGill staff had long been denied access to the camp. Given the growing risks and the impossibility of knowing what was happening inside, the university engaged a firm to investigate the activities within the encampment.

What they found led the university to determine that the need for the camp’s dismantlement was urgent.

  • Few members of the McGill community are in the encampment: Most people are activists from external groups. One organizer of the encampment came to Montreal from outside the country shortly before tents were set up on April 27. Unhoused individuals now make up most of the few people who are sleeping in the camp overnight.
  • There are significant health and safety risks: Two drug overdoses occurred in the camp since July 6. Syringes are visible, and illegal narcotics have been sold there. The camp is infested with rats. There are fire risks, including a propane canister and flammable materials next to the tents.
  • The encampment is a magnet for violence and intimidation: The camp continues to attract protesters intent on violence, as the multiple incidents of vandalism on July 5 show. Certain people in the camp are planning to cause further damage to McGill, for example through vandalism.

This camp was not a peaceful protest. It was a heavily fortified focal point for intimidation and violence, organized largely by individuals who are not part of our university community.

Moving forward

These last few months have been extraordinarily difficult for our students, faculty and staff. The dismantling of the encampment is an important step in restoring our healthy campus climate, and renewing our focus on teaching, learning and research.

To be clear: this morning’s developments – and my longstanding insistence that the encampment must go – were not about limiting speech. They were about an illegal occupation that intimidated and endangered our community, violated our policies, caused serious property damage, created major health and safety risks, and fostered a steady escalation of violence.

Peaceful, legal expression will always be protected at McGill. And indeed, it is thriving. At symposia and student events, in classrooms, libraries, green spaces, and cafeterias, McGillians have engaged respectfully and responsibly with intractable issues – and with each other – for more than two centuries. I have every confidence that we will continue to do so.

As always, I undertake to keep the community apprised of any major developments as they occur.

Sincerely,

Deep Saini
President and Vice-Chancellor
McGill University


7 a.m.

Dismantlement comes after violent protest, sparring between McGill and Plante

Here are some of our recent stories about the camp:

‘This needs to stop’: McGill denounces vandalism, alleged assault on security guard

On Monday, with activists threatening further escalation, McGill University condemned a pro-Palestinian protest on Friday night that led to property damage, an alleged assault on a campus security guard and clashes with police. Read our full story.

Man arrested, McGill windows smashed during pro-Palestinian protest

Montreal riot police used chemical irritants to disperse pro-Palestinian protesters at McGill University on Friday night after some demonstrators smashed windows, police said. Read our full story.

Plante and McGill spar as Victoria Square encampment dismantled

McGill University has shown a lack of leadership and failed completely in its handling of the pro-Palestinian encampment that has resided on its campus for the past two and a half months, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante charged on Friday. Read our full story


[email protected]