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Pro-Palestinian student protests spread across Europe



AMSTERDAM — Campus protests by pro-Palestinian activists spread across Europe on Tuesday as some called for a break in academic ties with Israel over the war in Gaza, while schools increasingly faced the question under debate in the U.S.: Allow or intervene?

German police broke up a protest by several hundred pro-Palestinian activists who had occupied a courtyard at Berlin’s Free University. Protesters occupied a university building in Amsterdam hours after police detained 169 people at a different campus location. Two remained in custody on suspicion of committing public violence.

Elsewhere in Europe, some student camps have been allowed to stay in places like the lawns of Cambridge. In recent days, students have held protests or set up encampments in Finland, Denmark, Italy, Spain, France and Britain.

In Berlin, protesters put up about 20 tents and formed a human chain around them. Most covered their faces with medical masks and draped keffiyeh scarves around their heads, shouting slogans such as “Viva, viva Palestina.”

Organizers said the protests were made up of students from various Berlin universities and other individuals.

Police were seen carrying some people away and using pepper spray as scuffles erupted between officers and protesters. The school’s administrators said in a statement they had called the police after protesters had rejected any kind of dialogue and some had attempted to occupy lecture halls.

“An occupation is not acceptable on the FU Berlin campus,” university president Guenter Ziegler said. “We are available for academic dialogue — but not in this way.”

In the Netherlands, police broke up a pro-Palestinian demonstration camp at the University of Amsterdam. Police said on the social media platform X that the action was “necessary to restore order” after protests turned violent.

Pro-Palestine protest camps have sprung up at about a dozen universities in Britain, including at Oxford and Cambridge, urging the institutions to fully disclose investments, cut academic ties with Israel and divest from businesses linked to the country.

Over 200 Oxford academics signed an open letter supporting the protests.

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