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Canadian students on hunger strike for universities to divest from Israel-linked companies

by Alexander
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Canadian students on hunger strike for universities to divest from Israel-linked companies

A group of McGill University students spent more than three weeks on hunger strike in an effort to force the Canadian university to divest from “companies supporting the Israeli army.”

The move follows months of protests and sit-ins at McGill and universities around the world, as students and faculty protested Israel’s military offensive in Gaza.

Documents on the McGill website show that it has investments in companies such as Lockheed Martin, a defense contractor that has sold fighter jets to Israel, and Safran, a French aviation and defense company.

“McGill University left us no choice because they ignored peaceful protests, actions taken by students and student groups on campus,” said Rania Amine, a McGill undergraduate student who celebrated its 33rd birthday on Friday. day of hunger strike.

“McGill finally pushed us to take this extreme form of action and put our bodies, our health and our lives on the line to make them understand that it is absolutely unacceptable that they are using our tuition money to invest in this way.”

Students are demanding that McGill, one of the most prestigious universities in Canada, divest itself of approximately $20 million from various companies.

Amine said the McGill administration acknowledged the strike and agreed to a public forum on the issue, before canceling the meeting. The school offered a private meeting in early March, the students said, but it was declined.

Chadi, an undergraduate student who asked that his last name not be published, said Friday was his 21st day of ongoing hunger strike.

“All of this will stop when McGill divests,” Chadi said.

“We are on hunger strike for divestment and we are doing it for the long term. We’ve already proven that we’re in it for the long haul just by the number of days we’ve spent doing this.

McGill released a statement Friday saying it was “concerned for the well-being of students participating in this initiative.”

“McGill respects the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, within the bounds of university policy and the law,” the statement added. “We… offered on several occasions to meet (the student protesters) directly. Although they have declined so far, this offer is still valid.

“We have clearly communicated the procedures available for expressing concerns about university investments or advocating for policy changes. These students chose a different approach; we hope they will understand that university policies will not be determined in this way until their well-being is affected. We urge them to make choices that prioritize their health.

In February, McGill said it would divest from companies listed in the Carbon Underground 200, a list of the 100 largest holders of publicly traded coal and oil and gas reserves, following a campaign that lasted for years by students and teachers.

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