protest signs hang from a tree at the University of Toronto encampment

Joining a global trend, pro-Palestinian protesters set up encampment at U of T

Dozens of student demonstrators calling for a ceasefire in Gaza have set up an encampment at King’s College Circle at the University of Toronto.

According to some X reports, demonstrators were chanting slogans like “End the surge let them breathe!” and “U of T pick a side, ceasefire not genocide!”

The student protesters, who last month occupied Simcoe Hall at U of T’s main campus in downtown Toronto, are demanding that the administration and President Meric Gertler divest from companies and institutions that are supporting Israel’s siege on Gaza.

The area was previously fenced off in preparation for convocation ceremonies set to take place next month, but it didn’t stop protesters from setting up camp.

In a statement on Thursday, the University of Toronto said it respects its members’ rights to assemble and protest, but protest activities must remain peaceful and lawful.

“Actions that create a health and safety risk; that interfere with the ability of students, faculty, librarians and staff to learn, teach, research and work on our campuses; or that disrupt or impede other University activities are not permitted. The University has a duty of care to our students, faculty, librarians and staff.”

The University added that their grounds and buildings are private property and that “unauthorized activities” such as encampments or the occupation of University buildings are considered trespassing.

“Our preference is to start with dialogue, U of T said in a statement. “Those who contravene university policy or the law risk the consequences set out in various laws and policies such as the Code of Student Conduct, which could include suspension.”

Pro-Palestinian protests (and counter-protests) are spreading across campuses in Canada and the United States, with student protesters setting up protest sites at Western University in London, McGill University in Montreal, and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

To date, more than 32,000 Palestinians have reportedly been killed and nearly 75,000 injured in Israel’s military offensive in the Gaza Strip since October 7.

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