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Man facing charges following disruption of University of Ottawa graduation ceremony


A 27-year-old man is facing charges after a security guard was sprayed with a 'noxious substance' during a University of Ottawa graduation ceremony, according to Ottawa police.

The university was holding graduation ceremonies all weekend at the Shaw Centre in downtown Ottawa.

Police say on Sunday morning, "several individuals" disrupted the graduation ceremony.

A news release sent around 7:30 a.m. Monday said an individual used "a pepper spray-type weapon" on a security guard, but in a correction sent around 4 p.m., police removed mention to pepper spray, saying only that a "noxious substance" was used.

When asked for clarification, a police spokesperson said they could not provide specifics, but could advise the substance was not pepper spray. 

The suspect was found in the area of Tabaret Hall and was later arrested, police said. 

Tabaret Hall is located on the campus of the University of Ottawa. 

A 27-year-old man is facing charges of assault with a weapon, possession of a weapon dangerous to the public peace, administering a noxious substance and mischief. Police did not release the individual's name.

Video of the convocation ceremony on YouTube shows people briefly yelling to disrupt the speech by University of Ottawa President and Vice-Chancellor Jacques Fremont Sunday morning.

"You've shown no respect to your Palestinian students," one person can be heard yelling during the speech, as some people applauded the protesters.

Fremont told the group, "You have been heard.  Your freedom of expression is important but the respect for everyone in this room is also important."

"This is a special day for our graduates."

A group of students have been holding a protest on the lawn of uOttawa's Tabaret Hall since May 1, calling on the university to cut financial ties with Israel.

An organizer at the encampment denied any substance was sprayed at the graduation ceremony, claiming it was an air horn.

According to the University of Ottawa's website, the Telfer School of Management graduation ceremony was held on Sunday morning.

--With files from CTV News Ottawa's Sam Houpt Top Stories

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