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Invasion law gives no power to clear U of T camp

Toronto police say they will only take action to clear a pro-Palestinian encampment at the University of Toronto in an emergency or to execute a court order.

In an update to the Toronto Police Service Board this morning, Deputy Chief Rob Johnson said, “Given the way events have unfolded to date,” the encroachment law does not give the force legal authority to clear the camp.

He cited the university’s initial decision to allow protesters to remain on campus and a recent court decision in Quebec that denied McGill University an interim injunction against a similar encampment.

The University of Toronto issued an invasion notice last week to protesters who camped out on King’s College Circle and were given a deadline of Monday morning to leave.

The protesters have stayed despite the notice, and the university has since sought a court order allowing police to remove protesters who refuse to leave.

The hearings are scheduled for June 19 and 20.

Johnson told the board this morning that police maintain regular communication with university administrators and have made arrests in five incidents related to the camp.

Protesters have said they will remain on campus until the university meets their demands, which include disclosing investments in companies that benefit from Israel’s offensive in Gaza.

Similar encampments have emerged on university campuses across Canada in recent months, and several schools are considering or taking legal action against protesters.

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