Pro-Palestinian students occupy Paris university campus


Scores of protesters on Friday occupied the central campus building of Sciences Po and dozens of others blocked its entrance.

Students in Paris – inspired by Gaza solidarity encampments at campuses in the United States – blocked access to a campus building at a prestigious French university on Friday.

The pro-Palestinian protest at the Paris Institute of Political Studies, known as Sciences Po, prompted administrators to move all classes online.

It came two days after police broke up a separate demonstration at the university’s amphitheatre outside one of its Paris campuses.

On Friday, scores of protesters occupied a central campus building and dozens of others blocked its entrance with trash cans, wooden platforms and a bicycle.

Protesters gathered at the building’s windows chanted slogans and hung placards reading “We are all Palestinians,” in defiance of administrators who students say called the police on their peers two days earlier.

On Wednesday evening, more than 100 pro-Palestinian protesters occupied the amphitheatre outside one of the university’s Paris campuses.

Most agreed to leave after discussions with management but a small group of students remained.

They were removed by police later that night, according to French media reports.

The university said in a statement it “strongly condemns these student actions which prevent the proper functioning of the institution and penalise Sciences Po students, teachers and employees.”

The statement said about 60 protesters were inside the occupied building and that administrators were meeting with a student delegation “to try to find a way out of this situation through dialogue.”

Louise, a protester at Science Po, said the actions by students at the Paris university were inspired by similar demonstrations at New York’s Columbia University and other campuses in the US.

“But our solidarity remains first and foremost with the Palestinian people,” she said. She spoke on condition that only her first name be used over concerns of repercussions.

Students protesting the Israel Hamas war are digging in at Columbia University in the US for a 10th day, one of several demonstrations sweeping campuses from California to Connecticut.

Hundreds of students and even some professors have been arrested across the US, sometimes amid struggles with police.

In New York, Columbia is negotiating with student protesters who have rebuffed police and doubled down.

Other schools have been quick to call law enforcement to douse demonstrations before they can take hold.

Columbia officials have said they will seek other options if the negotiations with protesters fail.

Founded in 1871, Sciences Po has long been a major production line for French leaders, politicians and captains of industry, with President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Gabriel Attal among its alumni.__Courtesy Euro News