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Police clear protesters from Swiss university as Gaza demonstrations spread

May 7, 2024 at 4:13 pm

Hundreds of students, researchers and lecturers attend the protest that has been going on at the University of Lausanne since May 2 at the Geopolis building of the University of Lausanne while the demonstrations organised by students to react to Israel’s attacks on Gaza and to support the protests for Palestine at various universities in the USA and Europe continue in Lausanne, Switzerland on May 06, 2024 [Muhammet İkbal Arslan – Anadolu Agency]

Police began dispersing pro-Palestinian protesters at the Swiss university of ETH Zurich on Tuesday, management said, after student demonstrations spread to campuses in several cities, Reuters reports.

Students set up camp at Lausanne University (UNIL) last week and protests have since spread to at least three more sites in Zurich, Geneva and Lausanne.

“ETH Zurich sees itself as a place where different opinions and perspectives can and should be expressed openly. However, unauthorised actions are not accepted at ETH Zurich,” ETH university said, adding that protesters had been repeatedly asked to leave the building before police arrived.

Video footage of the protest on social media earlier showed seated protesters with keffiyehs and Palestinian flags chanting “free, free Palestine” and “viva, viva Palestina”.

Protests also began in University of Geneva and the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne on Tuesday, according to students’ social media posts.

At UNIL, hundreds of students chanted “we are all the children of Gaza” on Monday as a single security agent looked on. Management asked them to move, a UNIL statement showed, but they remained in the building on Tuesday.

Some academics have sided with students.

“We consider the steps they’ve taken to be peaceful and good natured aimed at bringing to the public’s attention a dramatic situation,” UNIL political science professor, Bernard Voutat, said on Monday. “We teachers cannot remain silent.”

Police have dispersed protesters at other universities across the world including Columbia University in New York and the Sorbonne in Paris.

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