Lille, Saint-Étienne, Science Po… Update on student mobilizations in support of Gaza this Thursday

Lille, Saint-Étienne, Science Po… Update on student mobilizations in support of Gaza this Thursday
Lille, Saint-Étienne, Science Po… Update on student mobilizations in support of Gaza this Thursday

Student mobilization does not let up. After an internal debate on the Middle East on Thursday morning which they considered “disappointing, but not surprising”, the students of the Palestine committee of Sciences-po announced on Thursday afternoon the launch of a “peaceful sit-in” in the school hall and the start of a hunger strike by six students “in solidarity with the Palestinian victims”.

Thursday evening, the occupation of the campus was voted on by around a hundred students gathered in a general assembly, a member of the Palestine committee, who did not give her name, told AFP. The hunger strikes will continue until “an official, non-anonymous vote is held on the board of the Institute for the Investigation of Partnerships with Israeli Universities,” said Hicham, of the Palestine committee.

VIDEO. Sciences-po Paris occupied: pro-Palestinian students spent the night in the building

After a mobilization marred by tensions at the end of last week at Sciences-po, the movement was suspended after the management’s agreement to organize an internal debate, described as “townhall”, a term used in the United States for a large meeting. public. “It was a tough debate, with fairly clear positions, a lot of emotion,” said Jean Bassères, the provisional administrator of Sciences-po, which welcomes several thousand students. He called for “calm” before the start of exams on Monday.

300 people at the Sorbonne

Jean Bassères indicated that he had “taken fairly firm positions on certain subjects”, refusing “very clearly the creation of a working group which was proposed by certain students to investigate our relations with Israeli universities”. He called for “everyone’s responsibility”, in a context of several actions in France, echoing the mobilization of campuses in the United States where the police were deployed on several sites.

Not far from Sciences-Po, in front of the Sorbonne, where the police had already intervened on Monday to evacuate demonstrators, nearly 300 students from different campuses gathered Thursday afternoon and organized a camp of around twenty tents. “We are all children of Gaza”, “Palestine will live, Palestine will win!” », chanted the demonstrators, before being dislodged an hour later by more than a hundred members of the police, according to an AFP journalist.

The Minister of Higher Education Sylvie Retailleau asked university presidents on Thursday morning to ensure the “maintenance of public order”, using “the fullest extent of the powers” ​​at their disposal, particularly in terms of disciplinary sanctions in the event of disturbances or recourse to the police, during a videoconference intervention to the board of directors of France Universités.

Lille, Lyon, Saint-Étienne

At the end of this exchange, France Universités, which brings together 116 higher education establishments including 74 universities, “welcomed the determination of the minister to take a balanced and firm path for a return to calm”.

The Union of Jewish Students of France (UEJF) is organizing a “dialogue table” on Friday at Place de la Sorbonne, to “debate with Jewish students”, “fight against the polarization of the debate” and “show that we can mobilize without insulting and inveighing”.

Actions have multiplied in recent days in France, mainly on the Sciences-Po sites in Paris and in the regions, and in some universities, in an electric political context, La France insoumise being notably accused by the right of “ instrumentalization” of the movement.

The Jourdan campus of the École Normale Supérieure (ENS) was blocked by students on Thursday, management said. In Lille, the Institute of Political Studies was closed on Thursday and access to the Higher School of Journalism (ESJ) blocked.

At Sciences-po Lyon, “around a hundred” people occupied an amphitheater on Thursday evening, a representative of the Unef student union told AFP. A large Palestinian flag was displayed on the building, AFP noted. In Saint-Étienne, a handful of students demanding a ceasefire in Gaza blocked access to a university site on Thursday morning, before being evacuated by the police.

Elsewhere in Europe, students are also mobilizing. Around a hundred pro-Palestinian students occupied the entrance hall of the Géopolis building of the University of Lausanne (UNIL) late Thursday afternoon, demanding an academic boycott of Israeli institutions and an immediate and permanent ceasefire. , reports the Keystone-ATS news agency.

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