UNIL: a rally in front of Géopolitis before leaving the premises

UNIL: a rally in front of Géopolitis before leaving the premises
UNIL: a rally in front of Géopolitis before leaving the premises
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May 15, 2024 – 9:36 p.m.

(Keystone-ATS) Several hundred people flocked to the campus of the University of Lausanne (UNIL) at the end of the day on Wednesday at the call of pro-Palestinian students. When it was time to put an end to their occupation, they promised to continue their mobilization.

Between showers and sunshine, the action began with a parade in front of different buildings on campus with lots of pro-Palestinian slogans. Then, arriving in front of Géopolis, the members of the collective took stock of their mobilization in front of around 1,300 people according to their own count. They were accompanied by some professors and politicians who came to support them.

If they detailed the progress obtained in the agreement, including the creation of a cell of experts, the students deplored the pressure from the University and the authoritarian management of the Minister of Education Frédéric Borloz, who was widely booed. “We would have liked him to come to the negotiating table,” a spokesperson said.

“The agreement puts an end to the occupation on Wednesday evening, but not to the mobilization,” they assured. A path for activism has opened up throughout Switzerland.

The press also took it for granted, accused of not doing its investigative work. The collective therefore had to do research itself on the Israeli universities with which UNIL collaborates, lamented a spokesperson.

The result was a 30-page written report which notably singled out the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJ) and the Ashkelon Academic College (AAC). It details the human rights violations committed by these institutions and their collaborations with the Israeli army and private military companies.

These academic collaborations maintained by UNIL are in many respects in contradiction with these principles set out in the institution’s charter. The latter’s commitments are only “facade”. The report was given to the university which did not want to take it into account during the negotiations, according to the collective.

Students from other mobilized universities (Basel, Geneva, Zurich, Frivourg and Neuchâtel) also came to denounce the situation prevailing on their respective campuses. Asked about their message to Frédéric Hermann, rector of UNIL, “never, never, never do we submit,” the participants proclaimed, ensuring that their departure is not an end point.

UNIL was the first in Switzerland to experience the occupation of one of its buildings by pro-Palestinian students. The action lasted almost two weeks.

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