Police break up anti-Israel protest by students at prestigious Paris university

French police broke up an anti-Israel protest by dozens of university students in Paris, officials say Thursday, after days of similar protests erupting on college campuses across the United States.

The protest was organized by the Palestine Committee of Sciences Po University, which demanded that the university “cut its ties with universities and companies that are complicit in the genocide in Gaza” and “end the repression of pro-Palestinian voices on campus,” according to witnesses.

Police intervened as dozens of students gathered on a central Paris campus of the prestigious school on Wednesday evening, management says.

“After discussions with management, most of them agreed to leave the premises,” university officials say in a statement to AFP, saying the protest was adding to “tensions” at the university.

But “a small group of students” refused to leave and “it was decided that the police would evacuate the site,” the statement adds.

Sciences Po says it regretted that “numerous attempts” to have the students leave the premises peacefully had led nowhere.

According to the police prefecture, students had set up around 10 tents.

When members of law enforcement arrived, “50 students left on their own, 70 were evacuated calmly from 12:20 a.m.” and the police “left at 1:30 a.m., with no incidents to report,” the police said.

The protest group, however, claims its activists were “carried out of the school by more than fifty members of the security forces,” adding that “around a hundred” police officers were “also waiting for them outside.”

Separately, the Student Union of Sciences Po Paris said the decision by university officials to call in the police was “both shocking and deeply worrying” and reflected “an unprecedented authoritarian turn.”

The protests in Paris are an extension of the anti-Israel protests across universities in the US over the last week, as students demand that schools cut financial ties to Israel and divest from companies they claim are enabling its monthlong war with Hamas.

Some Jewish students say the protests have veered into antisemitism and made them afraid to set foot on campus, partly prompting a heavier hand from universities.

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