Pro-Palestinian encampment set up at Dalhousie University in Halifax

By Lyndsay Armstrong, The Canadian Press

More than a dozen tents were erected Sunday night at a pro-Palestinian encampment at Dalhousie University in Halifax, and organizers say they plan to stay until their schools divest from Israel.

About 20 people were on the courtyard of Dalhousie’s Studley Campus Monday, where music played and signs displayed messages such as “disclose, divest, reinvest” and “free Palestine.”

The encampment is organized by Students for the Liberation of Palestine, which describes itself as a coalition of students from Dalhousie and three other Halifax schools — Saint Mary’s University, University of King’s College and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University.

The group says on social media they are calling on all universities in Halifax to disclose the investments they have made to companies tied to Israel, and to divest from them.

Pro-Palestinian encampments have been set up at a number of universities across the United States and Canada over the past several weeks, in some cases resulting in arrests.

Dalhousie president Kim Brooks and vice-provost of student affairs Rick Ezekiel issued a statement to the university community late Monday noting the establishment of “a peaceful demonstration and encampment” on campus.

“We know that many members of our community share similar frustrations and concerns to those being expressed at university encampments across the country, and around the world,” the statement said, adding that university administrators are in contact with organizers and remain committed to “respectful, non-violent dialogue and debate.”

A woman who declined to provide her name but said she speaks for the protesters said the group is made up of “students united together against colonialism, western imperialism and the illegal occupation of Palestine.”

She said in an interview at the site Monday that they plan to remain on the Dalhousie campus until the four institutions “divest from all financial investments to Israel.” She gave her initials, M.G., but said she was withholding her name because she is worried her involvement in the encampment could affect her ability to graduate next week.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 13, 2024.

Lyndsay Armstrong, The Canadian Press

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