July 19th, 2024

Pro-Palestinian protesters and counter-protesters face off at new Montreal encampment

By The Canadian Press on June 25, 2024.

People walk past a defaced statue of Queen Victoria outside a new pro-Palestinian encampment set up on Square Victoria in downtown Montreal, Saturday, June 22, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christinne Muschi

MONTREAL – Pro-Palestinian protesters and counter-protesters faced off today at a downtown Montreal square, where a new encampment tied to the war in the Gaza Strip was set up over the weekend.

The two sides were separated by a line police officers at Victoria Square, about one kilometre south from a similar encampment on the lower field of McGill University’s downtown campus.

Earlier in the day, protesters at Victoria Square demanded Quebec’s pension fund manager – Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec – divest from investments tied to Israel and for the provincial government to close its office in the Middle East country.

Rabbi Reuben Poupko, one of the counter-protesters, said the presence of the encampment in a public space was “disheartening” and says Quebec’s pension fund manager should embrace Israel because of the country’s prosperity and democratic values.

Montreal police say they have officers on the ground to monitor the situation while respecting people’s rights and freedoms.

In response to the protest, the Caisse de dépôt says its total investments in Israel represent a small fraction of its portfolio, but the fund manager didn’t say it would divest from the country.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 25, 2024.

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