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U of T seeking injunction to clear protest encampment from downtown campus – Toronto |



The University of Toronto said Monday it’s taking legal action in an effort to clear an encampment of pro-Palestinian protesters from its downtown campus.

A statement posted Monday morning from university president Meric Gertler said the school is seeking an injunction and asking the court for an expedited case conference.

“In addition to pursuing this legal avenue to return King’s College Circle to the university community, we continue to engage in discussions with students representing those in the encampment,” the statement said.

“We held a long and productive meeting yesterday and are meeting again today. We remain hopeful that we can reach an agreement and bring the unauthorized encampment to an end.”

Click to play video: 'New deadline for U of T pro-Palestinian protesters'

New deadline for U of T pro-Palestinian protesters

University officials issued a trespass notice on Friday ordering demonstrators to remove the encampment by 8 a.m. Monday, and on Sunday officials indicated they would seek an injunction in court if protesters didn’t comply.

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The protesters, who set up tents on campus weeks ago, remained at the site Monday morning and were joined by faculty and labour groups for a rally outside the nearby Convocation Hall.

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Demonstrators held up flags and huddled under umbrellas as a drizzle turned to heavier rain during the rally.

Sara Rasikh, one of the spokespeople for the demonstration, told the crowd that protesters tried for months to get the university to listen to their demands, but only received acknowledgment after setting up the encampment.

“The reason for this is because the people’s strength is threatening to them. It is threatening to the legitimacy of this institution,” Rasikh said Monday.

“U of T continues to propose committees but we want commitments. We wants divestment. We want disclosure. And we want it now.”

On Sunday, Rasikh said the group has its own team of lawyers prepared to respond to an application for an injunction.

“The fact that (university administrators) want the police to come in and clear us out after they told us that they want to end things peacefully, it just doesn’t make sense,” she said.

“It does not change the fact that we will continue to remain steadfast in our demands.”

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Demonstrators and university administrators met Sunday afternoon, during which protesters presented what they described as a counter-offer calling on the school to disclose public investments in companies profiting from Israel’s offensive in Gaza.

They’re also asking the school to establish and let them be part of a joint working group examining private investments, as well as cut ties with two specific Israeli academic institutions.

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