several dozen students mobilized in support of Gaza expelled from school by the police

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Mobile gendarmes deployed in front of a Sciences Po building, in Paris, Friday May 3, 2024. MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

The police intervened on Friday May 3 at midday to expel several dozen students mobilized in support of Gaza from a Sciences Po Paris building. The Palestine committee, which brings together the demonstrators concerned, announced in a press briefing broadcast live on Instagram that it had “refused compromise” proposed by management – ​​the content of which was not known at the time of the intervention of the police.

The arrival of mobile gendarmes and a Republican security company then the evacuation were partly broadcast on the same Instagram account. In the images, several students, sitting on the ground, were picked up one after the other by officers and then led towards the exit – sometimes by being dragged along the ground. In a Palestine Committee video released a few minutes later, the students were outside the establishment.

Thursday evening, the management of Sciences Po Paris decided to close its main premises on Friday due to a new occupation by a few dozen students mobilized for Gaza. After an internal debate on the Middle East on Thursday morning, the result of the agreement previously reached with the administration, which they judged “disappointing, but not surprising”the students of the Palestine committee of Sciences Po had launched a “peaceful sit-in” in the school hall. At the same time, six students announced they were starting a hunger strike “in solidarity with the Palestinian victims”. Hunger strikes will continue until “holding an official, non-anonymous vote on the board of the Institute for the Investigation of Partnerships with Israeli Universities”declared Hicham, spokesperson for the Palestine committee, to the press.

Faced with this situation, the provisional administrator of Sciences Po Paris, Jean Bassères, requested the police to evacuate the historic buildings of the school, rue Saint-Guillaume (7e borough). In a message sent internally on Friday, Mr. Bassères said he was measuring “the scope of this difficult decision and the emotion it can arouse”. “ I deeply regret that the multiple attempts at dialogue did not make it possible to avoid it”he added.

Matignon warns that “firmness will remain total”

After this evacuation, a rally in support of the Palestinian cause was held Friday afternoon at Place du Panthéon, in Paris, at the call of student unions such as the Student Union and the National Union of Students of France, as well as youth organizations from political parties, such as Les Ecologistes or La France insoumise. The “rebellious” president of the finance committee at the National Assembly, Eric Coquerel, notably called for ” the government [à] accept that young people are mobilizing”. “What is done is rather to criminalize, to caricature, to often slander”he castigated.

>Pro-Palestinian rally in front of the Pantheon, in Paris, Friday May 3.>

Pro-Palestinian rally in front of the Pantheon, in Paris, Friday May 3.

Pro-Palestinian rally in front of the Pantheon, in Paris, Friday May 3. BENOIT TESSIER / REUTERS

The police also intervened Friday morning in Lyon to evacuate pro-Palestinian demonstrators from the Sciences Po site. The evacuation was carried out following a request from management, specifies the prefecture. Once outside, a few dozen demonstrators sang “Gaza, Gaza, Lyon is with you” Or “Palestine will live, Palestine will win”. In a press release, the Lyon management announced that“given the context, the administrative closure of the establishment is extended until May 12”.

“Firmness is and will remain total”Matignon told Agence France-Presse (AFP). “Regarding the situation in the establishments, some could be resolved through dialogue. For others, requisitions by university presidents were made, and the police intervened immediately. This firmness is paying off: twenty-three disturbed sites were evacuated yesterday”affirmed the same Source to AFP, adding, for Sciences Po Paris, that Gabriel Attal had “requested intervention upon requisition by the provisional administrator”.

Furthermore, the Union of Jewish Students of France (UEJF) is organizing all day Friday a “dialogue table”Place de la Sorbonne, for “debate with Jewish students”, “fight against the polarization of the debate” And “show that we can mobilize without insulting and inveighing”. Samuel Lejoyeux, president of the UEJF, explained in a column at the World why he considered this exchange necessary. The Jourdan campus of the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS) was also blocked by students on Thursday.

Read also | Article reserved for our subscribers At Sciences Po, after the debate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the observation of an impossible consensus

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In Lille, the political studies institute was closed on Thursday and access to the Higher School of Journalism (ESJ) was blocked. Friday morning, the journalism school remained closed, and the police were on site. https://twitter.com/ESJLille/status/1786340959229276506the management of the ESJ announced the closure “from the establishment for the second day” in a row. Denouncing a “blockage that hinders the right to education”management announces that it will offer “upon the resumption of classes, in a peaceful climate, discussions on the journalistic treatment of the humanitarian situation of the populations in the Gaza Strip”. At Sciences Po Lille, a meeting between management and students was scheduled for the day.

The World with AFP

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