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8 May, 2024 00:00

Police break up pro-Palestine protest at French university (VIDEOS)

Activists occupied Sorbonne lecture halls and blocked the entrance to the prestigious institution
Police break up pro-Palestine protest at French university (VIDEOS)

Riot police used tear gas to forcibly break up a pro-Palestine student protest outside the prestigious Sorbonne University in Paris on Tuesday. Student demonstrations against the Israeli military operation in Gaza have intensified globally after the IDF conducted its first “limited” ground incursions into the overcrowded border town of Rafah.

Dozens of French police in riot gear cracked down on the demonstration soon after it began on Tuesday afternoon. Forming several ranks with shields up, the officers began to push the protesters away from the street they were blocking in front of Sorbonne.

After some of the protesters pushed back, the police used pepper spray, according to videos of the clashes circulating online. At least four officers can be seen spraying tear gas into the crowd over a wall of shields.

Scores of protesters with Palestinian flags gathered at the entrance to the university on Tuesday, chanting “Free Palestine,” “Israel, get out! Palestine is not yours,” “We are all the children of Rafah,” and “Ceasefire in Gaza now,” according to a video shared by Sputnik.

The protesters also set up a makeshift encampment with tents inside a Sorbonne lecture hall, according to videos posted on X (formerly Twitter) by independent news site Le Media.

The lecture hall was occupied by the protest from 6pm, Le Media wrote.

Earlier in the day, police broke up a separate pro-Palestine gathering at Sciences Po, another university in Paris. Protesters blocked the entrance to the building with garbage bins, furniture, and bicycles, according to Le Monde.

A second protest of around 100 people took place in front of the school’s entrance later in the day, before it was dispersed as well.

Pro-Palestine student protests have taken place at universities around the world as Israel prepares to expand its war against Hamas with a potential full-scale ground incursion into Rafah. The overcrowded city shelters as many as 1.4 million Palestinians who were displaced by the Israeli bombing and ground operation in northern Gaza, according to UN estimates. The UN has warned of the desperate humanitarian situation in Rafah, the growing risk of disease and famine, and the inadequacy of the current flow of aid.