Free Speech Vital

Anger spreads to Europe as students from the ‘Cradle of France’s Political Elite’ blockade the campus and demand reprimand against Israel

Demonstrations in solidarity with the Palestinians on US university campuses have spread to Europe, where students of Sciences Po, one of France’s top institutions of higher learning, blocked the entrances and exits of the university in a demonstration on Friday (26), demanding, among other things, that the university should condemn Israel.

The protesters first occupied the central campus building and blocked the entrance with rubbish bins, wooden platforms and bicycles. Some gathered in front of the building’s windows, chanting pro-Palestinian slogans and hanging Palestinian flags and placards reading ‘We are all Palestinians’.

The university administration closed all university buildings and moved classes online. A statement from the university said it ‘strongly condemns the behaviour of these students, which impeded the normal operation of the university, and has sanctioned the students, teachers and staff of the Paris Institute of Political Studies’.


Young people occupy the street in front of a building of the Sciences Po Paris for a sit-in in solidarity with Palestine, in Paris, France, on 26 April. (Reuters)

A tense standoff between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli protesters took place in the street outside the school late Friday. Riot police intervened to separate the two sides.

More than 100 pro-Palestinian demonstrators first occupied the amphitheatre of the Paris Institute of Political Science on Wednesday night. French media said the police dispersed the first group of students who had sealed off the college that night, a move condemned by left-wing politicians.

The Ecole politique de Paris has long been the ‘cradle of the French political elite’, with alumni including current President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Gabriel Attal.

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