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French police break up pro-Palestinian university protest

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French police broke up a pro-Palestinian protest by dozens of university students in Paris, officials said Thursday, as Israel’s bombardment of Gaza sparks a wave of anger across college campuses in the United States.

Police intervened as around 60 students gathered on a central Paris campus of the elite Sciences Po university on Wednesday evening, management said.

“After discussions with management, most of them agreed to leave the premises,” university officials said in a statement to AFP, saying the protest was adding to “tensions” at the university.

But “a small group of students” refused to leave and “it was decided that the police would evacuate the site”, the statement added.

Sciences Po said it regretted that “numerous attempts” to have the students leave the premises peacefully had led nowhere.

The protesters were demanding that Sciences Po “cut its ties with universities and companies that are complicit in the genocide in Gaza” and “end the repression of pro-Palestinian voices on campus”, according to witnesses.

Many top US universities have been rocked by protests in recent weeks, with some students furious over the Israel-Hamas war and ensuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

France is home to the world’s largest Jewish population after Israel and the United States, as well as Europe’s biggest Muslim community.

The war in Gaza began with an unprecedented Hamas attack on Israel on October 7 that resulted in the deaths of around 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

In retaliation, Israel launched a military offensive that has killed at least 34,305 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

About the author


Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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