Middle East, Europe

German professors criticize police crackdown of pro-Palestine university protests

We 'defend their right to peaceful protest,' say academics in letter

Oliver Towfigh Nia  | 08.05.2024 - Update : 08.05.2024
German professors criticize police crackdown of pro-Palestine university protests


More than 100 Germany-based academics on Wednesday expressed their strong support for pro-Palestine protest camps on university premises, while criticizing the violent police clampdown.

We condemn the eviction of the protest camp at the Free University of Berlin (FU Berlin) by the police and “defend their right to peaceful protest, which also includes the occupation of university premises,” they said in a statement.

The group accused the university management of subjecting the demonstrators to “police violence.”

They called on “the Berlin university management to refrain from police operations against their own students and from further criminal prosecution. Dialogue with students and the protection of universities as spaces for the critical public should have top priority - both of which are incompatible with police operations on campus.”

German universities, among them in Berlin, Frankfurt, Leipzig and Bremen, have been the scene of mass student protests against Israel’s deadly military offensive in Gaza .

Demonstrations in solidarity with Palestinians under Israeli siege in Gaza have spread across university campuses in the US and Europe in recent weeks.

More than 2,000 people have been arrested at US campuses since April 18, amid heavily polarized debates over the right to protest, the limits of free speech and accusations of antisemitism.

But while clashes and standoffs with police at New York’s Columbia University, Portland State and UCLA have captured global attention, demonstrations and sit-ins are also being held on campuses in parts of Europe, including France, Holland, Britain and Switzerland. ​​​​​​​

Although protesters' demands vary by university, the vast majority of demonstrations have called for colleges to divest from companies that support Israel and the Gaza war.​​​​​​​

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