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Paris students end Gaza war protests after street fight

By AFP

April 27, 2024 11:18 AM


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Students at one of France's most prestigious universities on Friday called off protests over the Gaza war after street scuffles between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli groups.

Administrators at the Institute of Political Studies, or Sciences Po, university in Paris acted to douse mounting tensions at the Paris establishment as demonstrations spread across American universities over the impact of the Gaza war.

Pro-Palestinian students have staged several days of sit-ins and protests at the 150-year-old university. Some blocked entrances to the university and tents were set up at the central courtyard for a protest camp.

Hundreds of students turned out Friday and police moved in when about 50 pro-Israeli demonstrators arrived shouting and scuffles started.

With exams scheduled to start soon, the university said the pro-Palestinian students had agreed to call off their action in return for an "internal debate" about the university's ties to Israel.

University authorities also agreed to drop all disciplinary proceedings against demonstrators, said a note sent to students and faculty by Jean Basseres, Sciences Po's administrator.

Science Po has a joint degree programme with New York's Columbia University and several French students are taking part in protests at one of the US institutions most radicalised by protests.

By Friday night, the Paris protests had eased and the street outside was calm, according to an AFP reporter on the scene.

Protest leaders, who had demanded a study of Science Po's partnerships with universities or institutions that support the Israeli government, said they were happy with the promise of an internal debate.

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 attack by Palestinian militants Hamas 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.


AFP


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