Police Disperse Pro-Palestinian NYU Students: Similar Situation in Paris

Today, the police expelled the students, pro-Palestinian protesters, at the New York Universityat the invitation of the officials of that institution, at the same time the French police broke up the protest at the university in Paris

by Sededin Dedovic
Police Disperse Pro-Palestinian NYU Students: Similar Situation in Paris
© Stephanie Keith / Getty Images

The American police today expelled students, pro-Palestinian protesters, from New York University (NYU) at the request of officials from that institution. This is the latest in a series of police actions following several weeks of pro-Palestinian protests on university campuses across the United States during which nearly 2,200 people were arrested.

Police often intervened with riot gear, tactical vehicles, and stun grenades to remove tents that students had set up in occupied student buildings. Deputy Commissioner of Police Kaz Dotri wrote online that NYU had requested police assistance in dispersing an illegal tent camp on university property.

He wrote that the police are on the university premises, and for now, there is no information about possible arrests.

New York University students set up an encampment in solidarity with Gaza as police stand guard on April 26, 2024 in New York Ci© Stephanie Keith / Getty Images

Earlier this week, over 100 people were detained during a police operation at Columbia University, also in New York, where protests and tent encampments began over the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The Associated Press has documented at least 56 arrest cases at 43 different universities in America since April 18. This data is based on reporting from AP, statements from universities, and police. Early on Thursday, police acted against a crowd of demonstrators at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where at least 200 demonstrators were eventually detained after hundreds of them refused to obey orders to disperse, and some formed human chains in front of the police.

The police dismantled wooden barricades, metal fences, and trash cans, and then removed the tents. As at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), student protests demanding universities to cease business with Israel and companies they deem supportive of the Gaza war have spread to campuses across the United States in a student movement that differs from any other in this century, writes AP.

Israel has condemned the protests as antisemitic, while critics of Israel say the country uses these accusations to silence opponents. While some demonstrators have been caught on camera making antisemitic statements or violent threats, protest organizers, some of whom are Jewish, say it is a peaceful movement to defend Palestinian rights and protest against the war.

President Biden yesterday defended students' rights to peaceful protests but condemned the riots on campuses in recent days. Pro-Palestinian demonstrations began at Columbia University on April 17 when students called for an end to the war between Israel and Hamas, in which more than 34,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza according to the Hamas Health Ministry.

Israel launched an offensive on Gaza following Hamas's incursion into Israeli territory on October 7, during which about 1,200 people were killed and around 250 taken hostage.

Simultaneously in Paris, a pro-Palestinian protest inspired by those in the USA was dispersed.

Police in Paris today expelled pro-Palestinian activists from the Sciences Po University, who had occupied the building of that prestigious institution last night, whose premises remain a center of student mobilization in support of Palestinians in France.

The protest movement was inspired by the situation in the USA, where protests are held on the campuses of around forty universities and where police intervene. The French Government announced today that it will be persistent about it.

"When it comes to situations in institutions, some could have been resolved through dialogue. For others, the demands of university representatives have been submitted and law enforcement immediately intervened. This determination pays off, 23 locations were evacuated yesterday," the Government announced.

A French Riot Policeman (C) strikes A protester with his baton as thousands march through central Paris during a May Day Rally t© Kiran Ridley / Getty Images

A student from the Paris Institute of Political Studies, known as Sciences Po, told reporters that around 50 students were in the university premises in central Paris when the police entered the institution, a week after the start of gatherings and tensions there.

Since early morning, law enforcement has blocked surrounding streets, said two students from the Palestine Committee, describing the police response as "disproportionate." They expressed regret that no medical assistance was sent for seven students who began a hunger strike yesterday.

Actions carried out by students in support of Palestinians in Gaza are mainly held at Political Science institutions throughout France. At the Sorbonne Square, a few hundred meters from the Sciences Po University in Paris, the Union of Jewish Students in France is expected to hold a dialogue during the day with several guests, including the cartoonist of "The Rabbi's Cat," Joann Sfar.

"We want to prove that it is not true that we cannot talk about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. To do that, those who point fingers at Jewish students as accomplices in genocide must be removed," said Union President Samuel Ležoaje for radio J.

Last night, Sciences Po Paris, which has between 5,000 and 6,000 students, announced the closure of its main premises and called on students and staff to work remotely. After an internal discussion on the Middle East organized by the management yesterday, which the Palestinian Committee students found "disappointing," students organized a peaceful sit-in in the university's lobby, and several of them began a hunger strike "in solidarity with Palestinian victims."

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