Cops, Activists Face Off on EU Campuses Over Gaza Protests

Police detained 125 at University of Amsterdam; protests also in France, Denmark, Finland
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 7, 2024 7:41 AM CDT
Campus Protests on Gaza Spread to EU, With 100-Plus Arrests
In this image taken from video, police are seen arresting some 125 activists as they broke up a pro-Palestinian demonstration camp at the University of Amsterdam in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on Tuesday.   (AP Photo InterVision)

Police arrested about 125 activists as they broke up a pro-Palestinian demonstration camp at the University of Amsterdam early Tuesday, as protests that have roiled campuses in the United States spread into Europe. Police in the Dutch capital said in a statement on the social media platform X that their action was "necessary to restore order" after protests turned violent. There were no immediate reports of injuries, per the AP. Video from the scene aired by national broadcaster NOS showed police using a mechanical digger to push down barricades and officers wielding batons and shields moving in to end the demonstration, beating some of the protesters and pulling down tents. Protesters formed barricades from wooden pallets and bicycles, NOS reported.

Scores of demonstrators occupied a small island at the university on Monday, urging Amsterdam universities to break academic ties with Israel because of its offensive in Gaza. There have also been demonstrations in recent days at campuses in France and the United Kingdom. Photos from the Amsterdam campus Tuesday morning showed tents, banners, and food, along with piles of cobblestones that had been pulled up from the street. Before police moved in, scuffles broke out Monday night between two rival groups of activists. Police said in a statement that they cleared the makeshift camp after the protesters refused repeated orders to leave.

"The protest in this form created a very unsafe situation, partly due to the barricades that prevented emergency services from entering the site. In the event of a disaster, the activists themselves could possibly become stuck on the site," police said. They said the campus was calm Tuesday morning, but officers remained present in the area. There's been no comment so far from the university. Meanwhile, in Finland, dozens of protesters from the Students for Palestine group set up an encampment outside the main building at the University of Helsinki; in Denmark, students set up a pro-Palestinian encampment at the University of Copenhagen; and French police on Friday peacefully removed dozens of students from a building at the Paris Institute of Political Studies in support of Palestinians. More here.

(More 2024 campus protests stories.)

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