The Sound and the Fury

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Student protests against the war in Gaza spread across Europe this week, with demonstrators demanding their universities cease partnerships with Israeli institutions, a move inspired by demonstrations on American campuses, Al Jazeera reported.

Protests were held in France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands, Finland, Denmark, Italy, and Spain. On many campuses, clashes erupted with law enforcement, after university administrations debated whether to allow the demonstrations or ban them, the Associated Press wrote.

On Tuesday evening, hundreds of students and professors marched in the streets of the Dutch capital, Amsterdam, chanting “Free, free Palestine” and carrying signs reading “End the genocide,” Dutch broadcaster NOS reported.

The march came after police used a bulldozer to bring down barricades at a protest camp set up at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), and arrested 169 people. Demonstrators described the police response as “disproportionate.”

Meanwhile, the UvA argued the protests had turned hostile. Dutch Justice Minister Dilan Yesilgoz said she was “disgusted” by the protesters’ violence.

Also on Tuesday, German police forced the evacuation of around 80 camping in a courtyard inside Berlin’s Free University. Protests in Germany against the war are especially fraught because of the country’s Nazi legacy from World War II.

Meanwhile, police broke into two prestigious Parisian universities, the Institute of Political Studies (SciencesPo) and Sorbonne, on Tuesday to disperse dozens of pro-Palestine students occupying the premises.

Thirteen SciencesPo students have gone on a hunger strike since last week over the war, Le Monde reported.

Over 20 French universities were “evacuated,” French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal said last Thursday, adding that police response to the protests would use “total rigor.”

In the UK, meanwhile, the University of Cambridge has allowed some student encampments on its premises. And amid protests in three of Switzerland’s largest cities, the University of Lausanne said “there is no reason to cease” relations with Israeli universities.

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