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Riot police, protesters clash at Amsterdam Gaza demo

By AFP

May 8, 2024 09:35 PM


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Dutch riot police on Wednesday clashed with pro-Palestinian protesters as officers moved in to clear barricades at the city's main university, scene of upheaval since Monday.

Local television images showed dozens of police dressed in riot gear exchanging baton blows with a group of protesters when officers started clearing out an area in front of Binnengasthuis building in the Amsterdam city centre.

Students are demanding that the University of Amsterdam sever ties with Israel over the Gaza war and are inspired by ongoing demonstrations at US campuses.

"Police are starting to clear the barricades that have been set up on the terrain," Amsterdam police said on X, formerly Twitter.

"The operation has been authorised by the mayor," they added, after the UvA laid charges including disturbing the peace and destruction of property.

Images on the local AT5 channel showed police arresting several demonstrators, numbering a few hundred, roughly pulling one off a front-end loader.

Another protester tried to stop a loader before jumping into a canal to evade police attempts at an arrest.

Images also showed police surrounding and dragging away a small but vocal group of protesters remaining on the campus, while a front-end loader was pushing material used to put up the barricades into a canal.

Protesters are waving placards saying "Free Palestine" and shouting "Shame on you" at police.

Police say protesters were not just students, but also contained elements "who were not affiliated to the university and were deliberately seeking conflict with the police."

Representatives of the protesters and UvA management were in talks on Wednesday, but protesters told the NOS public broadcaster discussions had led to nothing.

The protests started at the university on Monday, after which some 140 people were arrested.

The Amsterdam city council is due to have an emergency debate about the ongoing demonstrations on Friday.

Protesters were also gathering elsewhere in the Netherlands, including at the Utrecht University campus, reports said.


AFP


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