Wed 15 May 2024 10:11 am - Jerusalem Time

Students take control of a university building in New York and sit-ins at Western universities

The student movement against the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip continued in American universities, as students from Coney University in New York City took control of a university library, while Harvard University reached an agreement with the protesting students to demand an end to academic normalization with Israel.

This comes at a time when several European universities witnessed student protests and sit-ins in support of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and denouncing the Israeli attack on the city of Rafah.

In turn, yesterday, Tuesday, French police arrested 5 students during demonstrations in support of Palestine in the cities of Rennes and Montrouge.

Students from Kone University in New York City took control of a library in one of the university’s buildings, and called it “Al-Aqsa University Library,” following the example of the oldest public university in Gaza, according to a statement.

The protesting students indicated that the move comes to highlight the university’s involvement, through its relations with Israeli universities, in targeting professors and destroying universities in Gaza.

The students added that the university refuses to negotiate with them regarding withdrawing its investments and boycotting weapons, surveillance and technology companies linked to Israeli universities.

In the same city, New School University students regained control of the reception building, and the protesters named the sit-in location the “Lama Center,” in honor of the nine-year-old journalist Lama Abu Jamous, who covered the Israeli war on Gaza.

In turn, Harvard University reached an agreement with the student protesters to end their pro-Palestinian sit-in.

The decision to disperse the camp came peacefully after negotiations between the interim university president and representatives of the sit-in, where the university administration agreed to immediately begin returning at least 22 students suspended from studying and to begin negotiations regarding cooperation between Harvard University and Israel.

In the United Kingdom, students protesting at the University of Cambridge in Britain denounced the university administration’s failure to respond to their demands calling for the university’s investments to be withdrawn from companies they consider complicit in Israeli war crimes against Gaza.

The students confirmed their continued open sit-in, pledging to expand their activities.

Al Jazeera's correspondent reported that members of the teaching staff at Cambridge University delivered a letter to the university administration supporting the demands of the students protesting in support of the Palestinians.

The professors said they fully support demands calling for the university to divest from companies they consider complicit in Israeli war crimes.

In a related context, students organized a protest in front of the Technical University of Berlin, denouncing the Israeli war on Gaza.

The students chanted slogans calling for the liberation of Palestine, and others describing Israel as a “terrorist state.” Participants in the protest also raised slogans denouncing the genocide carried out by the Israeli occupation forces in Gaza.

A video clip showed that students from the Dutch National Agency, which includes government-affiliated newspapers and channels, were denied entry to the University of Amsterdam campus, due to what they described as its bias in covering the sit-in and its dispersal by the police last week.

The clip shows a conversation by the student to a journalist working on the most watched evening program in the Netherlands, and he says to him, “You are fake journalists and you are not welcome here. We want Al Jazeera journalists, they are real journalists.”

In France, police arrested 5 students during demonstrations in support of Palestine in the cities of Rennes and Montrouge.

Students set up tents and demonstrated in support of Palestine on the Beaulieu campus of the University of Rennes, but police officers who arrived at the campus dealt “violently” with the students and arrested 3 of them.

In Montrouge, students protested at Maurice Genevois Secondary School, demanding a ceasefire in Gaza and French recognition of the Palestinian state, according to a post by the Federation of Secondary Schools Syndicates on the “X” platform.

Scenes of the demonstration published by the Union showed two police officers attempting to throw a person to the ground, while Le Parisien newspaper reported that two students were arrested during the protest in Montrouge.

Students at the University of Antwerp in northern Belgium began an open sit-in to pressure the university administration to sever its ties with Israeli universities and reveal all existing forms of cooperation with them.

At the same time, sit-ins continue in several Belgian universities, the most prominent of which are (Ghent, Brussels, Leuven, and Liège), demanding a position on the Israeli war on Gaza.

In Norway, the board of directors of the University of Oslo failed to adopt a resolution for a complete academic boycott of Israel.

The university administration took a number of decisions, including condemning the destruction that befell the research and education sector in Gaza and the casualties of students and university employees in Gaza. Emphasizing that the University of Oslo does not have any comprehensive institutional agreements with Israeli institutions.

The Board of Directors’ decision was rejected by the students protesting in front of the university’s headquarters, stressing their demands for the university administration to approve the boycott decision.

In the Irish capital, Dublin, University College Dublin witnessed a student sit-in for the fourth day in a row to denounce the Israeli attacks on Gaza.

Participants in the sit-in called on the university presidency to sever relations with Israel.

In Sweden, a student group organized a protest at Stockholm University calling for severing all ties with Israeli universities and institutions.

Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg participated in the protest, which witnessed the raising of banners calling for “an end to genocide” and “a boycott of Israel.”

In the Italian capital, Rome, Sapienza University students organized a march on campus in support of Palestine and in solidarity with it, and to demand that the university administration end cooperation with Israel.

The students set up about 30 tents near the university’s presidential building on campus, and organized a march on Tuesday to protest the Israeli attacks on Gaza and to confirm their demand from university president Antonella Polimeni to cut off scientific cooperation with Israel.

In Switzerland, the pro-Palestine demonstrations resumed again, which began at the University of Zurich on May 7, and were dispersed by the police earlier.

The "Students for Palestine" group stated in a press release that it had begun work to stage a sit-in at the university.

On the other hand, yesterday, Tuesday, police broke up pro-Palestinian demonstrations at the University of Geneva and the Geneva School of Landscape Architecture and Architecture.


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Students take control of a university building in New York and sit-ins at Western universities