Ohe pro-Palestinian protesters, who occupied a central building of the Paris Institute of Political Studies, better known as Sciences Po, hung posters reading “We are All Palestinians” and shouted slogans from the building’s windows.

Students voted early in the afternoon to continue their protest and at around 4pm local time tensions increased, with the arrival of around 50 pro-Israel protesters, who wore masks and helmets, shouting “Free Sciences Po” and “Free Hamas’ Gaza”.

Police separated the two groups, with no incidents of violence between supporters on either side.

With this blockade, pro-Palestine protesters want “a condemnation of the genocide in Gaza and also an investigation to put an end to agreements with Israeli universities and companies that materially or ideologically support the genocide in Gaza,” said Louise, a student who spoke to press at the scene with their faces covered.

Furthermore, the protester complained that the institute’s management did not listen to the students.

Sciences Po, founded in 1871, is known for being the university where part of the French ruling elite graduated, with former students the French President, Emmanuel Macron, and the Prime Minister, Gabriel Attal, for example.

The university administration ended up closing all its buildings on Friday and adopted the online class regime.

In a statement, the administration declared that it “strongly condemns these student actions that impede the proper functioning of the institution and penalize students, teachers and staff at Sciences Po” and added that administrators were meeting with a delegation of students “to try find a way out of this situation through dialogue”.

“The debate, yes. The blockade, no”, reacted the French Minister of Higher Education, Sylvie Retailleau.

This action, in “solidarity (…) with the Palestinian people”, was inspired by similar demonstrations at universities in the United States (USA), according to Louise.

The pro-Palestinian protest comes two days after police broke up another demonstration by more than 100 students at the university’s amphitheater, outside one of its campuses in Paris.

For Louise, it was this police operation that further heightened the spirits and reinforced the determination of the protesters, who believe that the country “should not be an accomplice” and should “stop sending weapons to Israel, which is what France is doing right now”.

In the early afternoon, the protesters received the support of Franco-Palestinian jurist Rima Hassan, seventh on the list for June’s European elections by the radical left party France Insubmissa (LFI, acronym in French), who stated that the protesters “carry the honor of France”.

Both Rima Hassan and LFI deputy Mathilde Panot were called by the police to give statements as part of an investigation into “apology for terrorism”, following a statement from the party regarding attacks by the Islamist group Hamas in Israel on October 7 , which were at the origin of the Israeli military offensive in Gaza.

In the USA, students at Columbia University are on the tenth day of protests against the war between Israel and Hamas, in one of several demonstrations that are shaking up university campuses from California to Connecticut. Hundreds of students and even some teachers have already been detained following these protests in the United States, sometimes in clashes with the police.

Read Also: Columbia University postpones withdrawal of pro-Palestinian students

Source: https://www.noticiasaominuto.com/mundo/2549049/protesto-de-estudantes-pro-palestina-paralisa-universidade-em-paris

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