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Pro-Palestine Protests Spread across the US Border to Canada, Mexico

Pro-Palestine Protests Spread across the US Border to Canada, Mexico
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By Staff, Agencies

The anti- “Israel”, pro-Palestinian protests that erupted on college and university campuses across the United States in recent weeks have spread beyond the country’s borders and into neighboring Canada and Mexico, as well as further afield, with students in Australia and France setting up encampments of their own in recent days.

Students at top Canadian universities including the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, and Montreal’s McGill University had all established protest encampments as of Thursday, calling for their places of study to divest from “Israeli” universities and businesses.

On Thursday morning, students at the University of Toronto set up an encampment in a fenced-off grassy space at the school’s downtown campus where some 100 protesters gathered with dozens of tents.

According to a statement from organizers, the encampment will stay until the university discloses its investments, divests from any companies that “sustain ‘Israeli’ apartheid, occupation and illegal settlement of Palestine” and ends partnerships with some ‘Israeli’ academic institutions.”

A university spokesperson told Reuters it was “in dialogue with the protesters” and that, as of midday Thursday, the encampment was “not disruptive to normal university activities.”

University of Toronto graduate student and encampment spokesperson Sara Rasikh told Reuters they will remain until their demands are met.

“If public disruption is the only way to get our voice heard, then we are willing to do that,” she said.

Unlike in the US, where police have forcibly removed scores of pro-Palestinian, anti- “Israel” protesters at several colleges, protest sites in Australia have been peaceful with scant police presence, and the university’s vice-chancellor Mark Scott told local media on Thursday that the encampment could stay on campus in part because it was absent the violence seen in the US.

Standing in the chanting crowd of more than 300 with his two-year-old son on his shoulders, Matt, 39, said he came to show it was not just students angry at “Israel’s” actions in Gaza.

“Once you understand what is going on you have a responsibility to try and get involved and raise awareness and show solidarity,” he told Reuters, declining to give his last name.