1 Arrested After Pro-Palestinian Protesters Block Off Major Intersection At UBC | CBC News

British Columbia

RCMP say one person was arrested after pro-Palestinian protesters at the University of British Columbia ramped up action in their month-long demonstration on Wednesday by blocking off a major intersection at the Point Grey campus. 

Police cleared intersection of University Boulevard and Wesbrook Mall near protest camp shortly after noon

Isaac Phan Nay · CBC News

· Posted: May 29, 2024 5:05 PM EDT | Last Updated: 3 hours ago

Pro-Palestinian protesters march during a demonstration at the rose garden at the University of British Columbia. (Ethan Cairns/CBC)RCMP say one person was arrested after pro-Palestinian protesters at the University of British Columbia ramped up action in their month-long demonstration on Wednesday by blocking off a major intersection at the Point Grey campus. 

Since late April, demonstrators have camped on MacInnes Field to protest the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, hanging up signs calling for “Freedom for Palestine” and urging Canada to “stop arming the genocide,” referencing the sale of arms to Israel. 

On Wednesday morning the protesters moved to the road, with about 100 of them blocking the intersection of University Boulevard and Wesbrook Mall, about 250 metres east of the camp.

Chants of “we will not stop, we will not rest” and “no peace on stolen land” could be heard.

In a press release, an RCMP spokesperson said its Critical Response Unit responded, along with officers from the Vancouver Police Department, Richmond RCMP and B.C. Highway Patrol. 

Officers formed a line before walking into the intersection, clearing it by around 12:15 p.m. PT.

Police said they arrested one person.

“Demonstrators were given the opportunity to relocate off the roadway to avoid enforcement action,” RCMP said in a statement. “Despite attempts to facilitate communication with protesters, police action was required to clear the intersection.”

The protesters moved off westward, still chanting.

A statement from UBC issued on Wednesday afternoon says classes, graduations and other events are proceeding as scheduled. 

“The safety and security of our community members and visitors remains our foremost priority,” the statement reads. “Any protest actions must be conducted with respect for others and within the boundaries of UBC policy and the law.”

Const. Tania Visintin with the Vancouver Police Department said the department was asked to go on “standby” but added that no officers were deployed.

Pro-Palestinian protest encampments have been set up on university campuses across the country, as the war between Israel and Hamas continues in the Middle East.

Police block pro-Palestinian protesters from entering an area with recent graduates at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. (Ethan Cairns/CBC)Protesters have called for schools to end financial and academic ties with Israeli companies and institutions.

A spokesperson for UBC said earlier this week that the school had no update to its May 16 statement from president Benoit-Antoine Bacon, which called for “productive dialogue with members of the encampment to work toward a peaceful resolution.”

On Monday, Bacon joined the presidents of Concordia University, McGill University and the University of Toronto to tell a committee of MPs that they are working to combat antisemitism on their campuses.

Demonstrators at the University of British Columbia protesting the Israel-Hamas war blocked off the intersection of Wesbrook Mall and University Boulevard on Wednesday morning. (CBC News)The meeting comes after claims that Jewish students have experienced a rising number of incidents of antisemitism since the war began on Oct. 7, 2023, when Hamas-led militants attacked communities in southern Israel.

The militants killed around 1,200 people and took another 250 hostage in the surprise attack, according to Israeli tallies. Israel’s subsequent assault on the Gaza Strip has killed more than 36,000 Palestinians, according to the Gaza health ministry. 

Protesters chanted ‘we will not stop, we will not rest’ as they moved onto the road. (CBC News)ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Isaac Phan Nay is a CBC News reporter/editor in Vancouver. Please contact him at isaac.phan.nay@cbc.ca.

With files from Karin Larsen, Alan Regan, The Canadian Press and Reuters

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