Clean up has begun on the abandoned site of a pro-Palestinian encampment outside the University of Ottawa’s Tabaret Hall.

Encampment organizers released a statement early Wednesday declaring the end of the encampment because they had reached an impasse in negotiations.

The surprise move comes after being on the site for the past two and a half months, demanding the university cut its financial ties with Israel.

“We asked the University of Ottawa to divest from genocide and occupation and they responded by saying they cannot take a stance on this matter,” the statement said.

“At best, the University of Ottawa administration and Jacques Fremont are out of touch with reality. At worst, they seem to be cruel people, guided only by greed and a blatant disregard for human life.”

UOttawa President and Vice-Chancellor Jacques Frémont in a statement released Wednesday condemned the students for the state they left the site outside the Tabaret Hall, accusing them of conducting “considerable damage” and calling it “acts of vandalism”.

“We have stated many times that the values of academic freedom and freedom of expression are foundational to our mission, and we will continue to uphold them,” said Frémont, adding that the encampment was considered illegal occupation and “is not freedom of expression.”

On Tuesday, the university had posted warnings that anyone trespassing on the property to set up a tent, for example, would face charges. The university had threatened the students with trespassing charges, encampment organizers told Capital Current recently but no action had been taken.

Encampment organizers say they will continue pushing the university in different ways to achieve their demands.

“You have not and you will not break our spirits. And as we have said from day 1, we will not stop, we will not rest. We will be back,” they said.

Faculty4Palestine Ottawa said the university administration should respect the rights of students for peaceful assembly and not pursue retaliation against the students involved in the encampment.

“We, members of Faculty4Palestine, remain committed to struggle alongside them until their goals are achieved and until all forms of discrimination – including both anti-Palestinian racism and antisemitism – become relics of the past in all our relations on this campus,” the group said in a statement.

Labour4Palestine also released a statement emphasizing their commitment in supporting pro-Palestinian students across the country.

“We urge universities to stop criminalizing student protesters and begin to engage in good faith dialogues about divestment from war,” statement said

“Investment in weapons and genocide are inconsistent with the values that institutions of learning and progress profess to, and should, hold.”

Last week, organizers said they would not move from the lawn in front of Tabaret Hall if the university administration declared they were trespassing and would reject any injunction forcing such an action.

Meanwhile in Montreal, McGill University issued two eviction notices and then closed its downtown campus as a police operation began clearing a 10-weeks long encampment.

In a statement, McGill said the university has been subject to “ongoing and escalating acts of violence and vandalism associated with the encampment.

“To protect the security of the McGill community and the integrity of our property, the encampment on the lower field of the downtown campus is being dismantled,” the statement said.

Meanwhile local and provincial police officers, some in riot gear, and private security dismantled the encampment.