From Science Po Paris to Harvard, campuses are mobilizing for Palestine

From Science Po Paris to Harvard, campuses are mobilizing for Palestine

Science Po accomplice! Murderous Israel! » It was while chanting this slogan that a few dozen students from Science Po Paris evacuated the school premises following the intervention of the police on the night of Wednesday April 24 to Thursday April 25.

Wednesday evening, ” the outdoor amphitheater of the 1 rue Saint-Thomas campus was occupied by around sixty students campaigning in favor of the Palestinian cause, contributing to a strong climate of tension for students, teachers and employees » of the school, according to the management who sent a message to AFP.

This mobilization was organized by the Palestine Committee of Sciences Po. A large banner in the colors of the Palestinian flag (red, white, green and black) was hung on a footbridge inside the building.

Long live Palestine! “, the students chanted, particularly in Arabic, while leaflets were distributed to those present, calling for a “vigil for Palestine”.

On March 12, some 300 pro-Palestinian students and activists occupied an amphitheater at the prestigious school, as part of a “day of European university mobilization for Palestine”. The Union of Jewish Students of France (UEJF) then denounced anti-Semitic remarks, which the pro-Gaza students contested.

According to testimonies collected by AFP on Wednesday evening, the students gathered on the site of the Parisian Grande Ecole demanded that Science Po “ cuts ties with universities and businesses complicit in the genocide in Gaza ” And ” the end of the repression against pro-Palestinian voices on campus “.

This sit-in took place while several American universities are the site of student mobilizations against the backdrop of the war that Israel is waging in Gaza.

The anger of pro-Palestinian American students against the war even grew on Wednesday in the United States, with tense face-to-face confrontations with the police in Texas, New York, New England and California.

On Wednesday April 25, 93 people were arrested during a demonstration on the campus of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Visiting Columbia University in Manhattan, where this latest wave of student protests began in October, the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mike Johnson, threatened: “ If the situation is not brought under control quickly and if the threats and intimidation do not stop, it will then be time to call in the National Guard “.

Close to former Republican President Donald Trump, a candidate for re-election, Mike Johnson warned that he would require Democratic President Joe Biden to “ to act » and judged that the pro-Palestinian demonstrations “ put a target on the backs of Jewish students in the United States », which has the most Jews in the world (some six million) after Israel.

For more than a week, dozens of students have installed a “ solidarity camp with Gaza » on the lawn of Columbia University in the center of New York, a source of tension on campus. They are demanding that the university management cut its relations with companies with ties to Israel.

Since tensions rose last week at Columbia, the movement has spread to 30 universities in recent days, and students at several more have signaled their intention to join what is considered one of the most major mobilizations against the war and the American military-industrial complex since the Vietnam War.

Particularly in the New England states, in the northeast, where prestigious universities have asked the police to arrest student demonstrators who denounce the military, diplomatic and economic alliance of the United States with Israel and criticize the current conditions of the Palestinians.

During the night from Monday to Tuesday, 120 people were briefly arrested in front of New York University (NYU) in Manhattan. In Yale, Connecticut, around fifty demonstrators were also arrested. Between speeches and concerts, demonstrators also organized Muslim prayers as well as meals to celebrate Jewish Passover, a celebration which began on Monday.

On Tuesday, university administrators built a wall to prevent protesters from taking over prime campus real estate.

Several passersby stopped, took photos and made fun of what they called ” pathetic response from the university » to repress freedom of expression.

The construction of the wall, students say, illustrates how the university has treated students and faculty who dared to broach the subject of Palestine or what they call the ongoing genocide in Gaza. They cite a culture of intimidation, fear and manipulation that has led to the suspension of students and the termination of faculty contracts.

At Harvard, the oldest university in the United States, in the suburbs of the historic city of Boston, also saw a camp set up on its tree-lined campus on Wednesday.

On the other side of the country, the University of Texas in Austin, a dynamic progressive city in this conservative state in the southern United States, was the scene of a face-to-face confrontation between hundreds of pro-Palestinian students and police, including many officers on horseback and in riot gear.

Some waved Palestinian flags and wore keffiyehs, others, supervised by police, had wrapped themselves in Israeli flags.

And at the University of Southern California (USC), several hundred students demonstrated, shouting “ free Palestine “, ” revolution by the Intifada “.

In the very diverse crowd, some waved Palestinian flags, others wore keffiyehs and carried signs calling for “ stop the genocide » and to a “ ceasefire “.

Middle East Eyes