French police break up Gaza war protest at Sorbonne University

University said on Monday it was closing as no one had been able to enter premises since noon

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French police have removed dozens of students protesting against Israel's bombardment of Gaza from one of the country's best-known universities.

Police removed protesters who had set up tents in the courtyard of the Sorbonne in Paris. BFM TV showed footage of police dragging students out.

A police source confirmed they had intervened to clear out the Sorbonne's courtyard.

"This operation, which lasted only a few minutes, was carried out peacefully and without incident," the source said, declining to respond to questions on how the students had been removed.

"We were around 50 people when law enforcement forces came running into the courtyard," said Remi, a 20-year-old history and geography student who took part in the sit-in.

"The evacuation was quite brutal with around 10 people dragged on the ground but no arrests," said Remi, who did not give his surname for fear of reprisals.

Education authorities earlier said the students had set up 12 tents in the courtyard and hallway of the university, causing exams to be cancelled. One student said they had set up more than 20.

Students at Paris Sciences Po university stage protest against war in Gaza – video

Students at Paris university stage protest against war in Gaza

Students at Paris university stage protest against war in Gaza

The university said it was closing as no one had been able to enter the university since noon. Outside the campus, around 150 people had been protesting.

"Gaza, Sorbonne is with you," some chanted, holding a huge Palestinian flag. "Israel murderer," cried others.

"We're here following the call from students at Harvard and Columbia," said Sorbonne student and activist Lorelia Frejo, referring to similar pro-Palestinian sit-ins in the US.

The protest at the Sorbonne comes after several such demonstrations at Sciences Po Paris, another of France's most prestigious universities.

Police cleared a protest at Sciences Po early on Thursday.

But protesters maintained their sit-in the next day before university management agreed to hold an internal debate on the right to protest.

Palestinian militant group Hamas on October 7 attacked southern Israel, resulting in the deaths of about 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Israel estimates 129 hostages seized on October 7, out of the 253 taken, are still being held in Gaza, including 34 the military says are dead.

Israel's retaliatory offensive has killed at least 34,488 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run Palestinian territory.

Updated: April 30, 2024, 6:31 AM