Discussions remain halted between protestors and UVic following protests

Discussions remain halted between protestors and UVic following protests

Days following protests at the University of Victoria’s Starbucks, negotiations between the two parties remain stagnant.

On Wednesday, UVic announced it paused negotiations between them and the People’s Park UVic pro-Palestine encampment.

For more than a month, the group has pitched tents in the middle of the campus and put on demonstrations, calling on the university to condemn Israel’s ongoing attacks against Palestinians, among other demands.

Over the last few days, protestors took over the coffee shop, leaving red handprints, chalk-written messages, and in one instance, covering themselves in red-soaked white cloths while inside the shop.

The group also protested at a high-school graduation ceremony that took place on the campus.

The school says the group’s actions “have made many members of the university and broader community feel unsafe,” and have halted talks until the group agrees to “refrain from all acts of vandalism, intimidation and harassment, along with demonstrations or activities that disrupt campus operations.”

“What they call vandalism, we call water-soluble paint equivalent to chalk and water. What they call harassment, we call discussion,” said E, a spokesperson for the encampment.

E says all of their protests, even before the encampments sprung up, have been legal.

“They are using these words in a way that fits them at a moment in the statement they’re trying to make at that time,” said E.

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Since their last meeting on May 31, the group says there has been a significant increase in patrols from campus security and police.

“It’s very clear they’re either photographing, recording, or talking amongst themselves surveilling what’s happening within the camp,” said E.

CHEK News has requested an on-camera interview with the university multiple times since the encampment began, but so far has only received written statements.

UVic says discussions between the two parties remain paused and patrols have increased.

“Police tend to patrol higher-risk areas. Unfortunately, over the past week the university has seen an increase in disruptive activities. As a result, individuals may have observed more police patrols on campus,” said the school in a statement.

Spring graduation is still planned to go ahead beginning on June 10. The group did not say if it was planning a protest at the event but reaffirms it’s prepared to resume negotiations with the administration.

Oli HerreraOli Herrera

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