Quebec Superior Court judge grants partial injunction against pro-Palestinian encampment at UQAM

A pro-Palestinian encampment was set up at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) campus on May 12. (Christinne Muschi/The Canadian Press - image credit)
A pro-Palestinian encampment was set up at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) campus on May 12. (Christinne Muschi/The Canadian Press - image credit)

A Quebec Superior Court judge has partially granted an injunction request by Université du Quebec à Montréal (UQAM) to prohibit pro-Palestinian protesters from setting up tents and other material within two metres of campus buildings.

Justice Louis Joseph Gouin said in his decision issued Monday morning that putting in place security measures — valid until June 6 — would reduce the surface area of the encampment without harming protesters' right to freedom of expression.

UQAM filed for an injunction last Thursday against pro-Palestinian protesters who set up an encampment on its downtown campus on May 12.

The university said protesters are posing a safety risk by blocking an emergency exit, being in possession of gasoline canisters and iron bars, and potentially "overloading" the university's electrical network with unauthorized extension cords.

The judge has also ordered protesters to refrain from blocking access to buildings and to remove cardboard obstructing cameras. Protesters must also allow representatives of UQAM and the Montreal fire department to visit the camp to ensure that the site is safe.

The Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) said in a statement it has taken note of the decision and will continue to follow the situation as it evolves. The SPVM added that the police's role is to ensure peace, order and the safety of those involved, all while respecting people's rights and freedoms.

Pro-Palestinian encampments have been sprouting across Canadian campuses following a similar trend in the United States. The encampment at McGill University was erected on April 27 by students demanding the institution divest from companies with ties to Israel. The encampment at UQAM backs up those demands.

Two injunction requests were filed to have student activists removed from the McGill campus, both of which were rejected by Quebec Superior Court justices.