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Encampment in support of Palestinians sets up on the University of Manitoba campus


Tuesday's downpour didn't stop demonstrators from setting up camp on the University of Manitoba campus.

“We are thinking of setting up tents here for folks who want to stay overnight,” said protest spokesperson Zahra who did not provide media with her full name.

The pro-Palestinian protesters are prepared for a multi-day encampment - similar to others seen across Canada and the U.S.

It's a response to Israel’s retaliation following an attack by Hamas militants on October 7.

"We have the full intention to have a peaceful sit-in, and there should be no need for policing, for extreme violence,” said protester Victoria Romero.

The organizers have outlined a list of demands.

"The first item on that list is privacy protective measures," said Zahra

Other asks include creating a course on Palestinian identity, and a public statement of support.

"The university and University of Manitoba Student Union must divest permanently from any companies or institutions complicit in genocide, oppression, and discrimination against Palestinians and their allies."

Protesters say all of their calls to action are achievable.

"Addressing these issues head-on will not only create a more inclusive campus environment, but will also set a powerful precedent that the university is dedicated to standing by principles of equity and human rights."

However, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CJIA) calls the demands “aggressive" and "one-sided."

"That’s when you start singling out people, creating and fostering an environment that is not welcoming; all of the things that we look to universities to deliver for our students,” said CIJA’s Gustavo Zentner.

Meantime the university said it's reviewing the group's requests.

"An offer has been made in terms of meeting with the organizers to discuss the demands," said Brandy Usick, the executive director of student engagement and success at the University of Manitoba.

While the university couldn't provide a date or time for that meeting, protesters say they'll stay as long as it takes - rain or shine.

"We don't have any plans of leaving or stopping. We're going to keep going as long as we need to,” said Zahra. Top Stories

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