CTR Home Internal  Relations and Communications Home About CTR Publication Schedule CTR Archives

June 6, 2002 Protesters prevent speech by Benjamine Netanyahu




Protesters at the Hall Building

Protesters break window

Protesters broke a large window on de Maisonneuve Blvd. Police drove the crowd back with pepper spray, some of which drifted into the building.

Netanyahu leaves hotel

Benjamin Netanyahu and his entourage started towards Concordia, but turned back when it was felt the Hall Building was not secure.


A protester speaks to the crowd.


Protesters formed a human chain blocking an entrance to the Hall Building.

Sit in

A large sit-in was staged outside.

(Click on photos to enlarge)

Photos by Luke Andrews

by Barbara Black

Several hundred protesters caused the cancellation of a speech — and of classes — in the Henry F. Hall Building on Monday.

Most of the protesters stayed in the street, but some breached security to get inside the building. When furniture was hurled from the mezzanine to the lobby and a large window on de Maisonneuve Blvd. was broken, police drove the crowd back with pepper spray and tear gas, and the event was cancelled. The building was evacuated, and classes in the building were cancelled for the rest of the day.

There were reports of ticket-holders for the event being harassed. As occupants of H-110 were discharged into the street, there was a noisy confrontation between the two sides, but police broke it up, and no one was hurt.

The former prime minister of Israel had been invited by Hillel, the Jewish students’ group, to speak at noon in the Alumni Auditorium, H-110. The booking, made in the normal way by a student organization, caused concern when university administrators realized that the speaker was the hawkish Netanyahu, who was the prime minister from 1996-99.

The protesters’ stated aim before the event was to prevent Netanyahu from speaking. However, security precautions were elaborate and expensive, and it was felt that the building was secure. Students, faculty and staff were instructed to use the Mackay St. entrance, but this proved to be confusing as events developed.

Netanyahu was quick to denounce Canada and Concordia for not being able to control the protesters. In a press conference at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, he denounced the protesters’ “totalitarian mentality,” and suggested that Concordia should be “cleaned up.”

For his part, Rector Frederick Lowy reacted with a strong statement condemning the actions of protesters, and declaring a moratorium on further events relating to Middle East politics.