Amsterdam University closed for 2 days after anti-Israel activists storm building

All buildings are shut through Wednesday; city police say university has filed a report against the protesters for acts of vandalism

Dutch police clash with anti-Israel protesters at the University of Amsterdam on May 13. (AFP)
Dutch police clash with anti-Israel protesters at the University of Amsterdam on May 13. (AFP)

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands – The University of Amsterdam says it will remain closed for two days, after police moved in to end an anti-Israel protest at one of its campuses on Monday.

The university’s board said it had canceled all classes Tuesday and Wednesday and has closed all buildings as it said it cannot guarantee safety for those on campus.

The university has been the scene of violent clashes between protesters and riot police three times in the past week, as activists who demand that the university cuts all ties with Israeli institutions blocked and occupied campuses.

Protests began on Monday when university staff and students staged a walkout in in response to the violent end to an occupation of a university building on May 8.

The university’s board said the protest had been peaceful until a group of masked outsiders joined the original group and started blocking entrances and emergency exits and caused serious damage to the building and its library.

Protesters, atop makeshift barriers of desks, bricks and wooden pallets used fire extinguishers to push back police, local television showed. Reuters video showed officers in riot gear struck protesters on the head with batons and knocked down the barricades, dragging many young students away as hundreds of others shouted, “Shame on you!”

In a post on social media site X, Amsterdam police said the university had filed a police report against the protesters for acts of vandalism.

Students across the Netherlands have been holding pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel protests since May 6, that have largely ended without police interference outside Amsterdam.

The protests join a wave of unrest on US university campuses and other European campuses, where students set up protest encampments and called for their schools to divest from Israel amid the ongoing war in Gaza, sparked by Hamas’s October 7 massacre that killed some 1,200 people, most of them civilians and saw 252 other taken hostage.

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