Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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12-hour encampment at Western U draws more than 100 pro-Palestinian demonstrators – London

A pro-Palestinian encampment drew roughly 100 demonstrators to Western University in London, Ont., on Wednesday.

Located out front of the University Community Centre, the encampment began around noon and consists of multiple tents, signs and speakers.

Palestinian flags could be seen flying throughout the camp and signs call for an end to the Israel-Hamas conflict.

In a social media post, organizers demanded the university divest $39 million in military contractors and companies “complicit in the occupation” of Gaza, boycott entities complicit in the occupation and condemn Israel’s actions in Gaza.

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In a statement, Western vice-provost John Doerksen says a dialogue has begun with organizers to ensure the protest remains peaceful.

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“We have also outlined the activities that are not permitted on campus, including erecting tents,” the statement reads. “The group’s activity is proceeding peacefully. While dialogue and debate are welcome and encouraged – even on the most difficult topics – Western will not tolerate hate speech.”

Campus police are at the scene of the protest and continue to monitor it. Western is also consulting with London police, which is standard for unsanctioned gatherings.

Haneen Abed Elnaby, 26, was born and raised in Gaza and left shortly before the Oct. 7 attacks.

Ben Harrietha/980 CFPL

Haneen Abed Elnaby was born and raised in Gaza and left shortly before Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack. She says everything went upside-down when she left.

“Everyone who leaves their country, their city, their home, they want to come back,” Elnaby said. “But for me, I didn’t expect that I would lose my home, I would lose my city, and I would lose everything.”

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Elnaby told the crowd how being away from Gaza would leave her stressed 24-7.

“We want a ceasefire every day, we have a hope that a ceasefire is coming. Advocate for Palestinians, because if you are standing for Palestine, that means you are standing for truth.”

Protesters will not be staying overnight and plan to leave around midnight.

Click to play video: 'Pro-Palestinian encampment enters 5th day at McGill University'

Pro-Palestinian encampment enters 5th day at McGill University

Meanwhile, a similar protest at McGill University in Montreal entered its fifth day on Wednesday. A Quebec judge has denied a request for a provisional injunction to remove the encampment.

Demonstrations at campuses in the United States have seen police sweep through campuses across the country over the last two weeks with more than 1,000 arrests. In rarer instances, university officials and protest leaders struck agreements to restrict the disruption to campus life and upcoming commencement ceremonies.

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— with files from Global News’ Kalina Laframboise and Brayden Jagger Haines as well as The Associated Press’s Stefanie Dazio, Ethan Swope, Jake Offenhartz and Joseph B. Frederick

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