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Pro-Palestinian protesters block entrance to McGill Bronfman building

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Pro-Palestinian protesters blocked the entrances of McGill University's Bronfman building Thursday morning, calling on McGill's Desautels Faculty of Management to divest from interests in Israel.

"McGill, McGill take a stand, don't support stolen land," student picketers chanted.

The protest garnered national attention -- and outrage, in the case of Canadian Immigration Minister Marc Miller.

"The demonstration at, and so-called 'blockade' of a McGill management building named after a prominent Jewish philanthropist is a despicable act and needs to end," he wrote on X.

Liberal MP Anthony Housefather said the protest crossed a line and called out his alma mater for allowing it.

"I have expressed my anger to the administration. This must end," he wrote, also in a post to X.

Henry Topas, director for B'nai Brith's Quebec branch, said the organization received many complaints Thursday morning from parents and McGill students who don't feel safe on campus.

"They have targetted a building that is clearly identified with one of the most prominent Jewish families in Canada. The Bronfmans, who have done tremendous things for not only the Jewish community, but all Canadians," he told CTV News.

Though there was heavy police presence, Topas said he was told they could not intervene without McGill's permission.

"I don't believe it's only targetted against an Israeli program. I believe it's targetted against the Jewish community," said Topas.

The group that organized the protest, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) McGill, wrote in a comment that:

"The Desaultels Faculty of Management hosts an exchange program with Israel including the Start-up Ecosystem trip to the Hebrew University—a university that works closely with the Zionist military, developing their weapons and strategies of terrorism to be used against Palestinians. The student body has clearly articulated that they demand divestment and boycott, and that there will be no business or classes as usual during an ongoing genocide which has killed over 30,000 palestinians."

Currently, both McGill and Concordia University are facing lawsuits alleging failures to combat antisemitism on campus.

In a statement to CTV News, McGill wrote:

"McGill Security Services arrived minutes after the protest began, and police arrived shortly thereafter. Building access was restored via the north entrance shortly after noon. To our knowledge, no one was prevented from exiting the building at any time. Due to the disruption, several classes were held online. Activities in the building will resume as usual on Friday, February 23." 

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