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UofT gave amnesty to pro-Palestinian protesters before encampment was cleared

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The University of Toronto gave pro-Palestinian protesters amnesty as part of an agreement that they abide by a court order and clear the encampment on campus.

A spokesperson for the encampment confirmed to CP24 Wednesday night that organizers made the request before complying with an injunction to vacate King's College Circle last week.

"Ensuring the safety of all protesters has always been top of mind for the Peoples Circle," Sara Rasikh said in an email to CP24.

"Encampment participants believe it is the bare minimum for the university not to go after its students for a peaceful protest. This agreement merely states that on paper, and we expect them actually to abide by it."

Rasikh provided CP24 with a copy of the amnesty agreement, which was signed by encampment members and two UofT officials, including student vice-provost Sandy Welsh, on July 3.

In the agreement, the university will not pursue any legal action or disciplinary measures relating to the encampment or other pro-Palestinian protests on campus. Also, UofT will not make complaints about students, faculty other staff or members of the encampment to Toronto police for participating in the demonstrations.

In exchange for the amnesty, encampment members abide by the 6 p.m. deadline and end the encampment they set up on the downtown campus on May 2.

The university, in a statement, said it corresponded with members of the encampment throughout the day on July 3 ahead of the deadline.

"This correspondence, which was initiated by student leaders, led to an agreement to ensure a peaceful, orderly and safe departure without the involvement of the police, in keeping with the University's goal from the outset," a spokesperson for UofT said on Wednesday night.

Rasikh noted that a similar amnesty agreement was included in every offer they made to the university, which she said the school agreed to in principle even before the injunction was filed.

The pro-Palestinian encampment at UofT ended last week after 62 days. While they may have packed up their tents, organizers said they would keep putting pressure on the university to disclose and divest from investments in companies profiting from Israel's ongoing offensive in Gaza.

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