Students at the prestigious University of Paris occupy a campus building in a pro-Palestinian protest

PARIS (AFP) – Inspire students in Paris Solidarity camps in Gaza Universities in the United States blocked access to a campus building at a prestigious French university on Friday, prompting officials to move all classes online.

The pro-Palestinian protest began on a dramatic day at the Paris Institute of Political Studies, known as Sciences Po, which counts President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Gabriel Attal among its many famous alumni.

Protesters initially occupied the Central Campus Building and Forbidden Its entrance has trash cans, wooden pallets, and a bicycle. They also gathered at the windows of the building, chanting pro-Palestinian slogans, and hanging Palestinian flags and banners.

Later on Friday, pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel demonstrators confronted each other in a tense confrontation in the street outside the school. Riot police intervened to separate the opposition groups.

As night fell, a dwindling group of pro-Palestinian demonstrators refused to budge, ignoring police orders to clear the street and warnings of possible arrests. Eventually, the demonstrators exited the building, carrying a large Palestinian flag, to cheers from the demonstrators who were supporting them outside. They then began to flow peacefully away from the area, under police surveillance.

Among the demonstrators' demands was that Sciences Po cut ties with Israeli schools. In an email to students, Sciences Po director Jean Basser pledged to hold a town hall meeting next week and suspend some disciplinary actions against students. In return, students commit “not to disrupt courses, examinations and all other activities of the institution,” the email said.

the Gaza war This issue raises a sharp division in France, which has the largest number of Muslims and Jews in Western Europe. France He initially sought a ban Pro-Palestinian demonstrations after Hamas surprise attack on October 7 On Israel, which started the war. Anti-Semitism has risen.

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On Wednesday evening, more than 100 pro-Palestinian demonstrators also occupied the Political Science Coliseum. Most of them agreed to leave after discussions with the administration but a small group of students remained. Police removed them later that night, according to French media reports.

The university administration closed all university buildings and transferred lessons electronically on Friday. She said in a statement that she “strongly condemns these student actions that prevent the proper functioning of the institution and punishes the students, teachers and employees of the Institute of Political Science.”

Louise, one of the protesters, said the students' actions were inspired by similar demonstrations at Columbia University in New York and other American universities.

She added: “But our solidarity remains first and foremost with the Palestinian people.” She spoke on the condition that only her first name be used due to concerns about repercussions.

Students protesting the war between Israel and Hamas are still digging in Columbia Universityone of a number of demonstrations that broke out on campus California to Connecticut.

Hundreds of students and even some professors have been arrested across the United States, sometimes amid conflicts with police.

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Barbara Sork contributed from Nice, France.

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