Pro-Palestinian protesters build barricades at Amsterdam university

Pro-Palestinian protesters build barricades at Amsterdam university
Pro-Palestinian protesters build barricades at Amsterdam university

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Protesters set up a barricade as students and employees of the University of Amsterdam protest against the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas in Gaza and the University leadership after police broke up a student protest camp overnight, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, May 7, 2024. — Reuters pic

AMSTERDAM, May 8 — Pro-Palestinian protesters built barricades at the University of Amsterdam today, using desks and railings to block off the canalside entrance in the heart of the city as they vowed to stay put until the institution severs all ties with Israel.

Riot police used a bulldozer to knock down barricades at another UvA site on Tuesday and detained 169 people, but said the university had not yet asked for similar intervention today.

The students in the Dutch capital are joining a wave of sit-ins and other actions at universities throughout Europe against Israel’s war in Gaza, following larger-scale disturbances at US universities.

UvA management are hoping talks on Wednesday will bring an end to the protests, but the students were digging in, pulling up bricks from the streets and pavements near to the 19th century campus and forming human chains to send them to the barricade.

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The protesters say the Israeli institutions the university works with profit from the oppression of Palestinians.

“We will remain until UvA, VU and AUC DISCLOSE, BOYCOTT, AND DIVEST!,” the organisers, amsterdam.encampment, said on Instagram overnight. They were referring to two other institutions in the city, although all the protests are at UvA.

The university said on Monday it had exchange programmes with three universities in Israel, which are halted because of security concerns, and was cooperating with Israeli scientists or companies in eight different European research projects.

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It said none of these cooperations were in support of military goals.

UvA said in a statement overnight it wanted to find a solution with the students, who have been protesting since Monday, adding that they have “caused considerable damage” to its buildings.

Trinity college

Yesterday, police dispersed protests at the Swiss University of Zurich and at the courtyard of the Freie Universitaet Berlin.

Last week, police took similar action at the Sorbonne University in Paris, while on Wednesday the Brussels University said it would file a police complaint against students who were involved in a violent protest including an assault on the Jewish students union leader.

In a response to protesters, Ireland’s Trinity College Dublin (TCD) said this week that it would pull investments from Israeli companies that the United Nations link to settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, following a student protest over the war in Gaza.

Students have been camping out in the college grounds since May 3, forcing the university to restrict campus access and to close an exhibition of the 1,200-year-old Book of Kells, one of Ireland’s top tourist attractions.

On Monday evening, TCD said it condemned “the atrocities of October 7th and the continuing ferocious and disproportionate onslaught in Gaza” and it had “initiated a process to divest from investments in companies that have activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory”. — Reuters

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