One arrested, three ticketed after students attempt to establish anti-Israel encampment at Laval University

'We're just here to have activities with our people and talk about what is happening [in Gaza] and ensure that the university is behind us on that as well,' said a student protester.

One arrested, three ticketed after students attempt to establish anti-Israel encampment at Laval University
The Canadian Press / Jacques Boissino
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One person was arrested and three more were ticketed following an attempt by students at the University of Laval in Quebec City to start an anti-Israel camp protest on Saturday afternoon.

Around 20 students set up tents on the corner of Chemin Sainte-Foy and Du Seminaire Avenue before the Quebec City police (SPVQ) told them to remove the encampment.

Police said students who attempted to set up camps again would be removed, CBC reports.

A news release on Sunday by the SPVQ said that its officers spoke with protesters and explained to them that their tent protest was prohibited without authorization having first been obtained.

"The term 'public property' includes Université Laval," said SPVQ spokesperson William Robitaille in an email Sunday morning.

According to police, during the intervention, three statements of offence were issued to protesters, and one individual was arrested to prevent a repeat offense.

David Fortier, a spokesperson for the students, stated that the group is now deliberating on the next steps for their protest. He mentioned that decisions will likely be made after university officials contact him to discuss their demands.

Student Antoine Grenier said that he is hopeful that the university will allow the encampment "because we're doing it pacifically and not violent at all."

"We're just here to have activities with our people and talk about what is happening [in Gaza] and ensure that the university is behind us on that as well."

In a statement to the media, the group Étudiants/Étudiantes de l'Université Laval pour la Palestine is calling for the university to provide financial transparency and disclose any investments connected to Israel. Their additional demands include ending exchange programs with Tel Aviv University in Israel, discontinuing the summer school program in Tel Azekah, and severing ties with the Joint Canada-Israel Health Research Program.

Fortier mentioned that he does not have specific information regarding possible financial connections between the university and Israel. "But the point is also that for many campuses here, it's a very hazy issue and what we want is to be sure —100 per cent sure — that our money that goes to the university doesn't at all go to anything related to the state of Israel," said Fortier.

It appears that police inaction emboldens the encampment occupiers in other jurisdictions. Anti-Israel protesters at the Université du Québec à Montréal previously sprayed paint at Rebel News journalists attempting to report on their encampment. Occupiers at the University of Toronto refuse to leave the area even after being issued a trespass notice.

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