Week 2 of Pro-Palestine Protests in France: Police Remove Students Occupying Sciences Po University in Paris

France Palestine Israel Europe Higher Education News by Erudera News May 03, 2024

Sciences Po University

French police entered Paris’ Sciences Po University, one of the most prestigious universities in France, to remove students who took over the university’s building to protest against the war in Gaza.

According to a report by Al Jazeera, police officers removed over 50 students who had entered a hunger strike at the university in solidarity with people in Palestine.

France has the largest Jewish population in Europe and the third-largest in the world, just behind Israel and the United States, Erudera.com reports.

A student at the university said earlier on Friday, that the school continued to engage in talks with pro-Palestinian protesters, but the negotiations did not progress. Other students said they had witnessed some protesters being dragged during the police operation.

“There were no assurances given that there wouldn’t be a police intervention after people leave the rooms,” a Sciences Po student told Al Jazeera.

France’s top political academic institution announced it would remain closed for the day on Friday, May 3 due to these reasons. Reports say that dozens of students occupied the university’s building to protest over the Israel-Hamas war, calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

The university sent a message to its community late Thursday, saying that its buildings in Paris will be closed on Friday.

“We ask you to continue to work from home,” the school has reportedly said.

Among the many demands, students asked the university to stop collaborating with universities in Israel. However, the Sciences Po administration refused to establish a working group to investigate its relations with Israeli universities, prompting the hunger strike.

According to media reports, students have expressed disappointment over the university’s response, saying none of the protesters’ demands were met.

Student protests initially started at Columbia University on April 17, where New York arrested about 100 people. More protests spread across other campuses in the United States and worldwide.

Unlike the United States, where pro-Palestinian protests have escalated on at least 43 campuses where the police arrested thousands of people, demonstrations in France, which have entered their second week, have been more peaceful.

Pro-Palestine student protesters in the US are calling on their universities to cut financial ties with Israeli companies that support the war in Gaza.

Early Thursday, French police intervened to remove a barricade at a Science Po’s site near Saint-Etienne. Later, nearly 100 students took over a lecture hall at Science Po’s Lyon branch.

Image source: Twitter account of Sciences Po

More from Erudera News:

>> Nearly 300 Arrested at Columbia University, City College of New York

>> 675 Students Arrested Across US Campuses as Pro-Palestine Protests Continue

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