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125 arrests after protests at Amsterdam University

Because they refused to clear a protest camp, the Amsterdam police forcefully broke up a camp of pro-Palestinian students. 125 people were arrested. There are also protests in Great Britain and Germany.

Dutch police violently broke up a camp of pro-Palestinian activists at the University of Amsterdam this morning. Authorities said 125 people were temporarily arrested. Most of them were released a short time later. The operation was necessary to restore order after violent clashes broke out.

The day before, students had set up some tents on a university campus. They demanded that the university cut all ties with Israel in protest against Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip.

University management and the police had asked the demonstrators to leave the area. According to police, most responded to the call, but around 125 people barricaded themselves in the camp. Early in the morning, police broke through the barricades with a shovel.

Students threw Firecrackers

Video shown by TV channel NOS showed police using an excavator to tear down barricades while officers with batons and shields advanced to end the protest. According to police, some demonstrators threw stones and fireworks.

Education Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf regretted that the police had to intervene. “Universities are places for debate and dialogue,” he said in The Hague. Protests are allowed, “but they have to be done in a way that is safe for everyone.”

According to NOS, the demonstrators had built barricades made of wooden pallets and bicycles. These would have blocked rescue routes, meaning that in the event of a catastrophe the activists might not be able to be helped. According to police, the campus was quiet Tuesday morning but officers remained present in the area. There were no reports of injuries.

During the night there were clashes between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian students.

Protests at other universities too

Students in Europe and around the world have repeatedly taken part in protest actions in recent days. On Monday, students at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge pitched tents and posted protest messages. They follow similar demonstrations at US universities. Everyone is equally calling for an end to the war and violence in the Gaza Strip. Students also set up protest camps in Liverpool and at SOAS University of London. Similar actions took place in Manchester, Sheffield and Newcastle.

In Berlin, pro-Palestinian activists also occupied a courtyard at the Free University. A university spokeswoman estimates that around 80 to 100 people were involved. Several tents could be seen in photos taken by a group appearing on Instagram as the “Student Coalition Berlin”. The university announced rapid action. “The FU ordered the evacuation and called the police,” said the spokeswoman.

criticism of Protest actions

British Education Minister Gillian Keegan criticized the pro-Palestinian protest camps at her country's universities. Since the terrorist organization Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, 2023, the number of anti-Semitic incidents has increased sharply, Keegan wrote in the Daily Telegraph newspaper. “This leads to a hostile and toxic atmosphere on campus,” said the minister.

Columbia University in New York had already canceled its central graduation ceremony yesterday in view of the pro-Palestinian demonstrations on its campus. University leadership said the past few weeks have been “incredibly difficult” for the university community.

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