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US student protests against Israel’s brutal Gaza war go global

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U.S. student protests against Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza have spread to several countries around the globe after sweeping across American college campuses.

People wave Palestinian flags during an action by students of several universities in support of Palestinian people in Paris, France, May 2, 2024. (AFP Photo)
People wave Palestinian flags during an action by students of several universities in support of Palestinian people in Paris, France, May 2, 2024. (AFP Photo)

Demonstrators have gathered on at least 40 US university campuses since April 17, often erecting tent camps to protest against the soaring death toll in the Gaza Stri

Nearly 2,000 people have been detained, according to U.S. media, in demonstrations reminiscent of protests against the Vietnam War.

In recent days, police have forcibly dismantled several student sit-ins, including one at New York University at the request of its administrators.

Demonstrators barricaded inside Columbia University, the epicenter in New York of the student protests, complained of police brutality when officers cleared the faculty.

At the University of California, Los Angeles, hundreds of police emptied a camp, tearing down barriers and detaining more than 200 protesters.

Dozens of police in riot gear used chemical sprays to break up a pro-Palestinian encampment at the University of Virginia, student paper The Cavalier Daily reported.

Officers ripped away umbrellas some of the protesters wielded as shields, scuffled with a few, and tore down tents, according to a video posted by the newspaper.

Brown University in Rhode Island reached an agreement with students to remove their camp from the grounds in exchange for it considering divesting from “companies enabling and profiting from the genocide in Gaza.”

President Joe Biden broke his silence on the protests on Thursday, insisting “order must prevail.”

A student looks at a Palestinian flag waved during a demonstration in support of Palestinian people at University College London (UCL) main entrance, London, U.K., on May 3, 2024. (AFP Photo)

Solidarity with Gaza signs surround an encampment on the grounds of Newcastle University, set up in protest Israel's war on Gaza, in Newcastle, U.K., May 2, 2024. (AP Photo)

Protests cross Atlantic

The demonstrations reached the U.K. shores last week when students in Leeds, Newcastle and Bristol set up tents outside university buildings to protest.

Demonstrators from Newcastle University, Bristol University, Warwick University, Leeds University, Sheffield University and Sheffield Hallam University gathered on campus, setting up encampments.

A group called “Newcastle Apartheid off Campus” at Northern England’s Newcastle University announced that they set up a camp and planned a daily on-campus rally at 5 p.m. local time (6 p.m. GMT).

In a statement on X, the group accused the university of profiting from the Israeli genocide in Gaza. They also posted a list of demands, including an end to the university’s collaboration with the Italian aerospace and defense company Leonardo, which the group claimed sells military equipment to the Israeli army.

They also demanded that the university cut all ties with Israeli universities to show clear support for Palestine and support calls for a cease-fire in Gaza.

At Bristol University, students set up a camp to protest their university, accusing it of being complicit in Israel’s “genocide” against Palestinians.

The student protesters also raised banners reading: “No one is free until Palestine is free,” “Arms companies are killing children,” and “Bristol University, you have blood on your hands.”

In the city of Sheffield, staff, students, and alumni from Sheffield University and Sheffield Hallam University have formed a group called the “Sheffield Campus Coalition for Palestine.”

The group also set up tents in the university garden in a show of solidarity with Palestinians.

Police in Frace forcibly evacuated protesters on Friday from a pro-Gaza sit-in at Sciences Po in Paris, the country’s top political science school. Officials said 91 people were arrested.

Sciences Po interim administrator Jean Basseres rejected a student demand to examine the institution’s links with Israeli universities.

Outside the nearby Sorbonne University, the Union of Jewish Students in France set up a “dialogue table” on Friday.

“Jewish students have their place in this dialogue,” said Joann Sfar, a comic book artist invited as a guest speaker.

He said he understood why students were “outraged by what’s going on in the Middle East.”

At Paris-Dauphine University, administrators banned a conference involving Rima Hassan, a Franco-Palestinian expert in international law who has been vocal in condemning “genocide” in Gaza.

The ban, introduced on the grounds there was a risk of public disorder, has been overturned by the judicial authorities.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday condemned the university blockades at Sciences Po and other French universities that “prevented debate.”

Germany suppression

Police intervened on Friday to evacuate protesters outside Humboldt University in central Berlin.

Several demonstrators were “forcibly” removed after refusing to decamp to another location, police said.

Berlin Mayor Kai Wegner criticized the protest, saying on X, formerly Twitter, that the city didn’t want to see events like those in the United States or France.

Students in Canada have protested against the war in Gaza in several cities, including Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver.

Hundreds of demonstrators have joined the first and largest camp, at Montreal’s McGill University, in the face of threats of police clearance.

They have vowed to remain there until McGill cuts all financial and academic ties with Israel.

University administrators said Wednesday they wanted the camp removed immediately, alleging that certain protesters were not student body members.

In Australia, hundreds of rival supporters of Gaza and Israel faced off at Sydney University on Friday, shouting slogans and waving flags.

Except for a few heated exchanges, the protest and counterprotest passed off peacefully.

Students of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) protest at university facilities in Mexico City, Mexico, May 3, 2024. (EPA Photo)
Students of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) protest at university facilities in Mexico City, Mexico, May 3, 2024. (EPA Photo)

Demonstrators asking for a cease-fire have camped for 10 days on a green lawn in front of the university. They want it to cut ties with Israeli institutions and reject funding from arms companies.

Students at Ireland’s Trinity College Dublin began a sit-in on Friday, describing the protest as a “solidarity encampment with Palestine.”

In Mexico, Dozens of students from the country’s largest university, UNAM, set up a camp in the capital Thursday, chanting “Free Palestine” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will overcome.”

They demanded the Mexican government sever all ties with Israel.

Meanwhile, about 100 students have since Thursday been occupying the entrance of a building at Lausanne University in Switzerland, calling for an academic boycott of Israel and an immediate cease-fire in Gaza.

The peaceful sit-in is due to continue until Monday.