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Not with a bang, but a whimper

July 2024

Well, University of Toronto, you have been proven to be massive chumps! Despite all their bluster, the pro-Hamas agitators who occupied your property for the past two months folded like wet lasagna noodles when faced with the possibility of being arrested by police. As this proves, you should have done the same thing that York University did, that is sending in campus security as soon as the tents started popping up and denying the protesters any chance of entrenching themselves.

Who knew it was that easy? Oh yeah, apparently everyone but you!

I hope that you will try to salvage some of your dignity and sue the protest organizers for the cost of the added security on the campus and for repairing the damage to the grass in King’s Circle, along with any punitive damages the court may see fit. Any students that participated should be immediately expelled.

On another point, I must say that I am pleasantly surprised that the pro-Hamas protesters left by the 1800 hr deadline on 3 July, just as the court injunction ordered them to do, and they did it without having to be dragged out kicking and screaming. I truly believed that the only thing they really wanted out of this whole circus was news clips of them being dragged out in handcuffs, maybe after a brief struggle to show their contempt for the law and strictly for the benefit of news cameras, a kind of protest theatre. After all their bluster about police brutality and their belief that police wanted nothing more than to beat up a bunch of “students,” they simply walked away. As great as that is, it’s also a little anti-climactic, given their rhetoric.

I can’t say exactly why, but it isn’t beyond the possibility that most simply wanted to go home and wanted a graceful exit. Other than the die-hard professional protesters and union activists, most probably had enough of this and wanted a face-saving way out. One big problem with an occupation, such as this and the Trucker Convoy in Ottawa in 2022, where there is no clearly defined end-date set out at the beginning of the protest/occupation, along with very little chance they will actually have all of their demands met, eventually you run into the problem of how much longer do you carry on? It’s entirely possible that some had already simply packed up and departed, which may have left the rest wondering what to do next. After the court injunction had been issued, but before the protesters had clearly stated their intentions, the number of tents had clearly declined, as seen from aerial photos taken by the media.

While the protesters departed, claiming they did so “on their own terms,” the loudmouths in the group promised that they weren’t done and would pop up somewhere else to continue their fight. I still say that we should have fire hoses at the ready.

I also hope to see resignations of the senior leadership at the University of Toronto, starting with Chancellor Rose Patten and President and Vice-Chancellor Meric Gertler.

Update 10 July 2024: It has now emerged that on 3 July, the University of Toronto administration signed an agreement with the pro-Hamas agitators not to take legal or disciplinary action against students, faculty members and staff involved in the encampment on campus in exchange for the protesters ending the occupation peacefully.

Sources: https://torontosun.com/opinion/columnists/lilley-anti-israel-protesters-exit-u-of-t-leadership-should-too, U of T gave amnesty to protesters before encampment taken down | CBC News.

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/not-with-a-bang-but-a-whimper/

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