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Pro-Palestinian student protesters end encampment at University of Ottawa

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators have decided to end the encampment on the campus of the University of Ottawa after a 10-week protest calling on the university to cut financial ties with Israel.

The groups Labour for Palestine Ottawa and Occupy Tabaret issued a statement early Wednesday morning, saying the students have “elected to vacate the encampment on Tabaret Lawn.”

“We reached an impasse in negotiations as the direct result of the university claiming they had zero powers to do anything about the funds they manage and in fact do have full control over,” Sumayya Kheireddine, student leader of Occupy Tabaret, said in a statement.

“At best, this university and President are out of touch with reality. At worst, they are simply cruel, and only guided by greed and immune to the suffering of others.”

On Wednesday morning, protest signs and wooden barricades remained in front of Tabaret Hall, along with a few tents.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators announced early Wednesday morning they will end their encampment in front of Tabaret Hall at the University of Ottawa. (James Fish/CTV Morning Live)

The group of students began their demonstration on the lawn outside Tabaret Hall at the end of April, calling on uOttawa to cut financial ties with Israel. Over the weekend, protesters moved their encampment closer to Tabaret Hall and set up plywood barricades around the tents.

Organizers have met with officials from the University of Ottawa.

In a statement on Instagram on July 5, the Ottawa chapter of the Palestinian Youth Movement said uOttawa administrators “set the tone of the meeting by refusing to discuss any of the encampment’s demands.”

The university has remained tight-lipped about the encampment since protesters began setting up tents at the start of May. The university has not responded to multiple requests by CTV News for comment on the status of negotiations with protesters.

The uOttawa encampment was part of a wave of similar protests across Canada denouncing Israel’s offensive in Gaza following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack.

“From the onset of negotiations with the university administration, we came to the table with an open mind, suggesting various ways for them to meet our demands, from simply changes to mere acknowledgment of anti-Palestinian racism,” Insaf uOttawa said in a video on Instagram.

“The university responded by stalling, speaking to us in bureaucratic jargon, and dismissing our very reasonable demands altogether.”

Last week, pro-Palestinian protesters ended their encampment at the University of Toronto ahead after an Ontario judge ordered the group to vacate the property. Protests have also ended at McGill University, the University of British Columbia and Western University. Protesters plan to end an encampment at the University of Guelph next week.

With files from CTV News Ottawa’s William Eltherington and Jackie Perez

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