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Pro-Palestinian protesters set up encampment in Montreal's Square Victoria

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A group of pro-Palestinian protesters has set up an encampment at Square Victoria in downtown Montreal.

It's believed to be the first such encampment in a public space in Montreal, located near the offices of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), one of Canada’s largest pension fund managers, and Quebec's Ministère des Relations internationales et de la Francophonie (MRIF), which recently opened an office in Tel Aviv.

A pro-Palestinian encampment in Victoria Square in Montreal on Saturday, June 22, 2024. (Max Harrold/CTV News)

The group Divest for Palestine Collective said in a news release that it launched the "Al-Sumud People's Encampment" Saturday to demand the CDPQ divest from companies it claims are "complicit in the Israeli occupation" in Gaza.

The group is also calling for Quebec's Tel Aviv office to be shut down because "Increasing trade relations and diplomatic cooperation with Israel legitimizes the genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people."

A statue of Queen Victoria is covered in paint near a pro-Palestinian encampment in downtown Montreal on Saturday, June 22, 2024. (Max Harrold/CTV News)

Benoit, a spokesperson for Divest for Palestine Collective who declined to give his full name, said members of the group come from various backgrounds who want to send a clear message.

"There's a lot of people in society that we think that if they are confronted by the fact that their pension fund is investing in companies complicit with genocide, [they're] not OK with that. And people [will] join us in protesting those things," he told CTV News.

Montreal police (SPVM) said they are aware of the situation.

"An assessment is underway to take the appropriate measures based on the current circumstances," a police spokesperson said Saturday afternoon.

On April 27, protesters set up a pro-Palestinian encampment on the lower field of McGill University. A judge has denied two requests to have that encampment dismantled

An encampment at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) was set up on campus on May 12, but protesters announced last month that they would dismantle it

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