Swiss police clear anti-Israel encampment at University of Bern

Swiss police moved in early this morning to remove dozens of anti-Israel student protesters holed up at the University of Bern, the school says in a statement.

Student demonstrations have gathered pace across Western Europe in recent weeks with protesters demanding an end to the war in Gaza and urging that ties with Israel be cut.

Swiss police acted following a request by the Bern university’s management, which had described the student occupation as “unacceptable.”

The last of around 30 protesters left the Bern university early this morning. They chanted pro-Palestinian slogans outside the building before leaving the area, a journalist from the Keystone-ATS agency says.

Dozens of demonstrators had been occupying university premises, including the restaurant, since Sunday night.

They were demanding an “academic boycott of Israel institutions” and had ignored a university ultimatum to leave the premises.

University rector Christian Leumann says in a statement that he is open to talks but that “an occupation with politically motivated demands does not create an environment for constructive dialogue.”

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