Students at prestigious Paris university occupy campus building in pro-Palestinian protest

(26 Apr 2024)

Paris – 26 April 2024
1. Tilt down Science Po University exterior showing sit-in by Pro-Palestinian supporters on street outside the school
2. Various of students holding up two fingers in a peace sign
3. Various of riot police on street
4. Group that was occupying Science Po overnight leaving the building with a Palestinian flag being held over their heads AUDIO applause and cheers from Pro-Palestinian supporters who had been doing the sit-in
5. Various of students holding and shaking huge Palestinian flag, chanting and applauding
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Wajih (no surname given), Pro-Palestinian Supporter and Science Po student:
"A large part of it was motivation from the American Ivy League. But before that, we still had movement every Tuesday, every week, we would occupy the (La) Peniche, the main hall. But seeing our brothers and sisters across the pond, working well, fighting for Palestine, it was inspiring for us, and we decided to a bit of the same. We set up tents as well."
7. Mid of French riot police
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Wajih (no surname given), Pro-Palestinian Supporter and Science Po student:
"They (Science Po) have agreed for sure to the first one (of the list of the student demands), of the town hall open to all students. And the third one, to halt disciplinary actions against students who have been advocating for Palestine like we have."
9. Wide of demonstration after the students left the building they’d been occupying
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Wajih (no surname given), Pro-Palestinian Supporter and Science Po student:
"The occupation (student occupation of Science Po) has paused for now. But we have, we will still support the Palestinian movement at large, we’ll support other universities, we’ll support all over the globe until Palestine is free."
11. Wide of riot police
Students in Paris inspired by Gaza solidarity encampments at campuses in the United States blocked access to a campus building at a prestigious French university Friday, prompting administrators to move all classes online.

The pro-Palestinian protest kicked off a day of drama 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 first occupied a central campus building and blocked its entrance with trash cans, wooden platforms and a bicycle. They also gathered at the building’s windows, chanting pro-Palestinian slogans, and hung out Palestinian flags and placards.

Later Friday, pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli demonstrators faced each other in a tense standoff in the street outside the school. Riot police stepped in to separate the opposing groups.

As night fell, a dwindling group of pro-Palestinian protesters refused to budge, ignoring police orders to evacuate the street and warnings of possible arrests.

Eventually, demonstrators came out of the building, carrying a large Palestinian flag, to cheers from the protesters who had been supporting them outside. They then started to stream peacefully away from the area, watched by police.

Among protester demands was that Sciences Po sever ties with Israeli schools. In an email to students, Sciences Po administrator Jean Bassères pledged to hold a townhall meeting in the coming week and to suspend some disciplinary proceedings against students.

In return, students “committed to no longer disrupting courses, examinations and all other activities of the institution,” the email said.

AP video shot by Nicolas Garriga

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