No police on university compus in the Netherland

Nieuws, gepost door: nn op 08/05/2024 05:03:15

Wanneer: 08/05/2024 - 14:15

The open Statement by University of Utrecht's students and UU scholars and staff for Palestine: following Police violence against peaceful students and staff at Utrecht University on May 7th 2024

A Statement Condemning the Use of Police Violence Against Peaceful Students and Staff at Utrecht University

Around 11pm on Tuesday the 7th of May, riot police were called in by Utrecht University’s Executive board to Drift Library’s courtyard to violently break up the Utrecht University encampment in solidarity with Palestine. The police abused, dragged, and harassed students, staff and faculty. The students were demanding UU to take a stance against the ongoing genocide in Gaza, to disclose, boycott, and divest from Israeli academic institutions complicit in the massacre of 40.000 people in Gaza. This action comes after months of failed attempts at entering into meaningful negotiations with the university. In this encampment the students were exercising their democratic rights to freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, and academic freedom as protected by the Dutch constitution, the European Convention on Human Rights and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU.

Hours before, in the afternoon on Tuesday 7th, students and staff had peacefully gathered at the at the Drift Library’s courtyard in protest against the ongoing genocide in Palestine and their University’s complicity in it. They had set up this Solidarity encampment calling for the University to disclose, divest, and boycott Israeli institutions involved in the occupation of Palestine.

For the entire duration of the demonstration, Anton Pijpers (the president of UU’s Executive Board; CVB) was seen at the windows and walking inside the library building, but never once stepped outside to meet with the students. Surprisingly, in its statement this morning, the Executive Board falsely claims that “protestors ignored their offer to meet” with Anton Pijpers. In fact, students demanded that Anton Pijpers speak publicly to all UU students and staff at the encampment. As the so-called representative of the UU’s students and staff, Anton Pijpers clearly and decisively denied the invitation though he was a stone’s throw away. The CvB claims that as a result it decided to “ask the police to end the occupation”, once again reflecting the undemocratic policy of the UU.

UU’s response was to call the police against its own students, staff, and faculty. Around 12.30AM, riot police came to the library to aggressively break up the encampment. Students and staff were violently evicted, on the basis of arrest, as per the police’s communication, yet without providing a reason for the arrest. The evictees, it later became clear, were being administratively displaced (bestuurlijke verplaatsing). This form of administrative displacement constitutes deprivation of liberty and is a violation of article 5 of the European Convention on Human rights.

The police abused, dragged, and harassed students, staff and faculty, forcing them into buses as evidenced in images and videos circulating on social media. Over 60 people were administratively displaced, and taken to an undisclosed location before the police released them at 3AM near Houten, next to the “Police Utrecht Cells Complex,” which is over 2 and a half hours walking from Utrecht.

In their statement, the CvB also claims that “partly because our house rules were not followed, serious safety concerns arose”. None of those concerns called for the response that ensued: The fact that House Rules were not followed does not in itself justify the violent removal of protestors and interfering with their right to peaceful assembly. The irony that the CvB would rather call the riot police to violently arrest students and staff putting them in danger, in the name of safety and security, rather than respectfully speak with the students, says it all. The CvB, in a breach of trust, called the police without issuing a warning to the student negotiators, as per their agreement, unilaterally terminated the negotiations, asking the police to arrest the protestors, and thereby threatening the safety of protesters themselves.

We strongly condemn the use of police violence against students, staff, and faculty gathered in a peaceful assembly. NO POLICE ON CAMPUS! We give our full support to our students and academic community demanding our University to be accountable for its institutional and structural complicity with genocide against Palestine. Again, we demand that UU takes a clear and strong stand against the ongoing assault on Palestinian life, cuts ties with Israeli universities, research institutions, organizations and companies, and endorses the academic boycott of these institutions. We also demand that all university protests be respected and that no violence will be used against students and other protestors.

In solidarity with those who were injured, threatened, and detained at the Solidarity encampment in Utrecht, we call for all faculty and staff at Utrecht University to cancel all classes and meetings today and to condemn police violence on campus. We urge faculty and staff to stand by their students and oppose the university administration's deliberate choice to betray their trust through lies and violence.

UU scholars and staff for Palestine
Utrecht Students in Solidarity with Palestine
End Fossil Utrecht


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