Pro-Palestinian camp at Laval University in Quebec City cleared


On Saturday evening, a pro-Palestinian camp was cleared at the University of Laval, reported the Service de police de la Ville de Québec (SPVQ).

According to SPVQ, police officers went to the site near Sainte-Foy Road and Séminaire Avenue, where a demonstration of about 30 people was taking place.

“The police observed that the various groups of demonstrators had begun to set up several camps,” said a press release from the SPVQ.

“In accordance with Article 19.1 of Municipal Ordinance 1091, the police officers spoke to the protesters and explained the regulations to them. They therefore decided to dismantle their camps themselves. However, the group was able to continue demonstrating, as provided for in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” the SPVQ added in the same document.

According to SPVQ, three demonstrators were insulted.

“To prevent a repetition, one of the demonstrators was taken to the detention center,” police said.

To prevent the establishment of new camps on the university campus, police officers carried out surveillance measures during the night.

“We saw it as a way of denying our right to demonstrate on campus, even though we were doing so peacefully, against a genocide taking place across the ocean,” Antoine Grenier, co-spokesperson for the Students for Palestine movement at Laval University, said in an interview on Sunday.

“They gave us 10 minutes to pack up our things, otherwise the 40 police officers who were there would have entered the camp and used violence on us. So we decided to dismantle our tents and continue to demonstrate on campus without tents for the rest of the day,” he said.

Grenier said the students continued their protests until about 11 p.m. Saturday night.

The student group's demands include “full financial transparency on the part of the university regarding its Israel-related investments and partnerships,” “a position for a ceasefire and a condemnation of the genocide of the Palestinian people by the Israeli state,” and a “promise to completely withdraw from investments in companies involved in the genocide.”

“We will definitely look into what happened with the municipal ordinance, because our lawyers told us that we had the right to exercise our right to demonstrate,” Grenier said. “It just so happens that the university movement is the last place where we can denounce what is currently happening in Gaza, especially in view of the inaction of our government.”

“We think it's a real shame that we weren't given the opportunity to exercise our right to demonstrate, when it's a pretty global movement happening everywhere on campuses, across North America, in England and elsewhere, and it's not aimed at violence.”

This week, the activist group “Université populaire Al-Aqsa de l'UQAM” announced that it would disband its camp by June 6 at the latest, after being satisfied with a resolution passed on Wednesday by the board of directors of the Université du Québec à Montréal.

A pro-Palestinian camp remains on the campus of McGill University in Montreal. In a message posted on the university's website on May 29, Rector Deep Saini said he had not yet found “common ground” with the camp's participants.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on June 2, 2024.