Source: Mocha Bezirgan / X

Edmonton police dismantled an anti-Israel encampment at the University of Alberta, while protesters at the University of Toronto are under fire for projecting the logo of the terrorist group Hamas’ military wing, Al-Qassam, onto a building.

McGill University is meanwhile requesting an injunction against the encampment occupying its campus.

Police moved in to clear the U of A encampment early Saturday morning.

The clearing came after the university had warned protesters it would  “act where necessary” if they took part in “any action that impedes the university’s core business of teaching and learning, or violates the law or policies of the university.”

Before its dismantlement, the encampment had been the sight of hateful messages. Among other things, there were signs calling for the violent destruction of Israel. The phrase “f **k the Zionists” was also written in chalk. 

“These words will only escalate antisemitism across (Edmonton),” said the city’s Jewish federation.

In a statement, U of A president Bill Flanagan defended the university’s decision to dismantle the encampment. 

“There can be no question that the encampment posed a serious and imminent risk of potential violence and injury to university community members and members of the public,” said Flanagan. “The only reasonable measure we have to ensure public safety and security is to take steps to end the encampment as peacefully and respectfully as possible while at the same time reinforcing our commitment to freedom of expression and lawful protest.”

Flanagan noted that to his knowledge, only 25% of encampment protesters were U of A students. 

He also took note of concerns related to the protesters’ gathering of wood pallets, a material used to make barricades. The pallets had been declared a fire hazard by a fire inspector. Furthermore, Flanagan said potential weapons including hammers, axes, screwdrivers and a box of syringes were found in the encampment.

“As a university, we simply do not have the resources or expertise to manage an encampment of this size and complexity and ensure public safety,” Flanagan noted. “We have no means to supervise the encampment to ensure there are no weapons or illegal drugs.”

Flanagan also cited the danger of encampments spiralling out of control, as seen at U.S. universities like the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Encampment organizers, however, slammed U of A and the police in a news release where they claimed protesters had been victims of police brutality. They also accused Flanagan of lying.

“The People’s University For Palestine encampment at the University of Alberta was brutally swept by baton-wielding police officers from the ‘Public Safety Unit,’” said organizers.

“By conducting a raid of the camp at dawn when students were sleeping, the University created (an) additional threat of serious injury,” they added.

Organizers also claimed that their encampment was a “peaceful” and “beautiful coalition of students and community members,” that was “not a threat to anyone in any way,” but rather “an opportunity for community building through unity and harmony.”

This is the second encampment in the province of Alberta to be removed by law enforcement. An encampment at the University of Calgary was also cleared last week.

In Eastern Canada, encampments continue to occupy several universities, including the University of Toronto.

Anti-Israel protesters at U of T came under fire for projecting the logo of Hamas’ military wing, Al-Qassam, onto the medical sciences building. Al-Qassam played a crucial part in Hamas’ brutal Oct 7 attack, which saw 1200 Israelis slaughtered.

The logo appeared to be part of a broadcast of Qatari outlet Al Jazeera, a media agency that has been accused of being “a genocidal anti-Israel propaganda machine.”

In a statement, B’nai Brith Canada said the broadcasting of the logo is “inexcusable and unjustifiable.”

“If this is not evidence that the encampment at U of T is not comprised of students exercising their democratic rights and freedoms, we don’t know what is,” they said. 

B’nai Brith is calling on U of T to immediately “take the necessary measures to end the encampment,” noting that “as a society, we cannot tolerate and must not allow our institutions to associate with those who align themselves with terrorists.

U of T did not respond to a request for comment.

While in court Monday, lawyers representing McGill University requested an injunction to allow it to clear the anti-Israel encampment occupying its university campus. The university claims that the encampment is bringing security and sanitary risks.

“It is clear that without the immediate intervention of this Honorable Court, the state of the Encampment, now a guarded, gated community, will only worsen as time passes,” McGill’s court filing states, “and the concerns for safety and the sanitary conditions will continue to increase.”

Anti-Israel protesters have set up a second encampment in the city, at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM).