Pro-Palestinian protest encampments pop up at U of A and U of C

Pro-Palestinian protest camps popped up at the University of Calgary and University of Alberta this morning. The protesters have clear demands of their university administration, which include disclosing their investments and divesting from Israeli institutions and companies complicit in the genocide of Palestinians. 

Photo of a banner at the University of Alberta pro-Palestinian protest camp. Image by Mike Litwack.

The Calgary camp is seeking a full academic boycott of institutions complicit in the occupation of Palestine, as well as academic and mental health support for Palestinian students. They’re asking the university adopt an anti-Palestinian racism definition on campus, recognition of the Palestinian genocide and a public statement condeming the atrocities committed by Israel. 

The Edmonton camp is asking for the university of of Alberta to condemn the genocide and call on the Canadian government to end all military contracts with Israel.

Neither camp is planning to leave until their demands are met. 

Spirits were high at the U of A camp when I visited this afternoon, with about 30 people in attendance and several tables, tents and shade structures. The U of A camp is located in the main quad and organizers were asking for more people as well as more tents, gazebos/shade structures, tables and a generator. 

U of A administration has been fairly hands-off with the protest camp so far, though all the doors facing the main quad have been locked, requiring those who want to enter the buildings to swipe their university ID. We have contacted the University of Alberta and will update the story if they reply. 

University of Calgary administrators called the cops after the protesters refused to immediately disband their camp.

“We are aware that a small number of tents have been set up on campus,” the University of Calgary said in a statement given to Postmedia.

“We are engaging with the individuals involved, however, temporary structures and overnight protests are not permitted. Members of the campus community are free to protest but they are not free to camp.”

“We are working with the university to safely resolve the situation,” a Calgary police spokesperson told Postmedia.

The University of Calgary protesters are also asking for generators as administration has shut down the power outlets around the protest site. In what’s probably a wise move, the Calgary protesters are keeping Postmedia reporters outside of their encampment. 

If you’re a Progress Report reader and can make it out to either protest camp, you should go. The more people there are, the safer it will be. While we’ve seen violent police crackdowns, particularly in the US, we’ve also seen universities accede to the protester’s demands. 

To keep up to date with the two camps we recommend following the University of Calgary protest camp’s Instagram page and the University of Alberta’s protest camp’s Instagram page.