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

In an early-morning statement issued Wednesday, the groups Labour for Palestine Ottawa and Occupy Tabaret said the students have “elected to vacate the encampment on Tabaret Lawn.”

“We reached an impasse in negotiations as the direct result of the university claiming they had zero powers to do anything about the funds they manage and in fact do have full control over,” Sumayya Kheireddine, student leader of Occupy Tabaret, said in a statement.

“At best, this university and President are out of touch with reality. At worst, they are simply cruel, and only guided by greed and immune to the suffering of others.”

By around 10 a.m. Wednesday,  most of the encampment had been cleared. All that remained were a few empty tents, tarps, blankets, wires and debris. Protest signs encircled the stairway to Tabaret Hall, saying “the children of Gaza will haunt you,” among others.

“Divest” was spray-painted in blood red across the pillars of Tabaret Hall, a Palestinian flag hanging from the building.

pro-Palestinian encampment
The pro-Palestinian encampment on the University of Ottawa grounds has been dismantled, July 10, 2024.Photo by Jean Levac /Postmedia

Police and campus security teams were dismantling what remained, and placing barricades, blocking the public’s access to the lawn.

“Police Liaison Teams are working with the University of Ottawa to assist in the relocating of the persons experiencing homelessness from the encampment site.  They are coordinating with the Salvation Army Outreach team and area shelters to ensure that they have a space for them to be housed,” said Const. Cailey Walker of the Ottawa Police Service.

The Salvation Army’s outreach and housing services support team were assisting the unhoused people who had joined the students’ protest in recent days.

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

“From the onset of negotiations with university administration, we came to the table with an open mind, suggesting various ways for them to meet our demands, from simple policy changes to mere acknowledgment of anti-Palestinian racism,” the social media post reads. “The university responded by stalling, speaking to us in bureaucratic jargon, and dismissing our very reasonable demands altogether.”

uOttawa did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

pro-Palestinian encampmen
One of the few remaining settlers at the pro-Palestinian encampment was being convinced to leave from the University of Ottawa grounds has been dismantled, July 10, 2024.Photo by Jean Levac /Postmedia

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

Student protesters had previously said they were concerned the university would bring in the Ottawa Police Services to dismantle the camp.

As reported by the Associated Press, Israel’s military urged all Palestinians to leave Gaza City and head south on Wednesday, with troops pressing ahead with a fresh offensive across the north, south and central Gaza. It comes as U.S., Egyptian and Qatari negotiatiors met with Israeli officials in Doha, in attempts to reach a cease-fire deal with Gaza’s Hamas militants.

The United Nations says as many as 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 38,00 people and wounded more than 88,00, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians.

VIEW MORE PHOTOS

pro-Palestinian encampment
The pro-Palestinian encampment on the University of Ottawa grounds has been dismantled, July 10, 2024.Photo by Jean Levac /Postmedia

pro-Palestinian encampment
The pro-Palestinian encampment on the University of Ottawa grounds has been dismantled, July 10, 2024.Photo by Jean Levac /Postmedia

Palestinian encampment
The pro-Palestinian encampment on the University of Ottawa grounds has been dismantled, July 10, 2024.Photo by Jean Levac /Postmedia

pro-Palestinian encampment
The pro-Palestinian encampment on the University of Ottawa grounds has been dismantled, July 10, 2024.Photo by Jean Levac /Postmedia

Palestinian encampment
One of the few remaining settlers at the pro-Palestinian encampment was being convinced to leave from the University of Ottawa grounds has been dismantled, July 10, 2024.Photo by Jean Levac /Postmedia

Palestinian encampment
The pro-Palestinian encampment on the University of Ottawa grounds has been dismantled, July 10, 2024.Photo by Jean Levac /Postmedia

pro-Palestinian encampmen
The pro-Palestinian encampment on the University of Ottawa grounds has been dismantled, July 10, 2024.Photo by Jean Levac /Postmedia

pro-Palestinian encampmen
The pro-Palestinian encampment on the University of Ottawa grounds has been dismantled, July 10, 2024.Photo by Jean Levac /Postmedia

With files from Postmedia and the Associated Press.