‘Mobilized until we are heard’: at Sciences Po, pro-Palestinian activists keep up the pressure

Another day of blockade at Sciences Po This Friday, May 3, about a hundred pro-Palestinian students are occupying the building at 27 rue Saint-Guillaume. The activists slept there and had no intention of leaving as long as the IEP refused “investigate” partnerships that connect it with Israeli universities. But around 11:45 a.m., police were ordered to evacuate the campus.

The situation was becoming tense when the Palestine Committee, at the time of the emergence of the mobilization, scheduled a conference for 9:30 before the IEP, the gendarmerie asked the journalists to evacuate the vicinity of the school. Since then, several vans have blocked two access points to rue Saint-Guillaume, which remains closed to the public.

Masked activists

A few tens of minutes later, two activists with keffiyehs on their shoulders and surgical masks on their noses arrived at rue de Grenelle, where journalists were waiting huddled on the sidewalk. “As you know, we were forced to cancel our press conference due to the 8 gendarmerie trucks present in rue Saint-Guillaume. This response is disproportionate and security-related, again suppressing pro-Palestinian voices in our establishment.protests one of them in a beige raincoat.

Activists in Keffiyehs hold a press conference.Paul-Henri/Le Figaro wallet

Two young women, who refused to give their first names, spoke in turn. “There is a delegation negotiating as we speak, so we will keep you updated.continues the second young woman in a brown jacket.

“The student community will remain strong and mobilized until our demands are heard”, adds his comrade. And to continue: “Our request to the institution remains the same: we want the next board of the institute to create a task force and commission of inquiry to challenge academic and economic partnerships with regard to violations of international law and human rights in Palestine.

The hunger strike started yesterday

Activists don’t just rely on blocking to support their demands. “There is a hunger strike that started yesterday for 24 hours by 10 students from Sciences Po Paris including three students from the Reims campus,” said one of the students. “We underline and support the demonstration and occupation taking place at Sciences Po’s relocated campuses in Le Havre, Poitiers and Reims.”

Yesterday morning, Sciences Po Paris hosted a “town hall”, a debate between students and the institution’s administration. During this meeting, management refused to revise their partnerships. At the end, the disappointed activists immediately announced that their mobilization would continue. “While the student community waited for commitments during this debate, the only time IEP administrator Jean Bassères uttered the word was to indicate to us that he would not commit to calling the police again despite the consensus in the academic community to refuse. their intervention within the walls of the university”regrets one of the activists.

Due to the blockade, the administration has decided to close its Paris premises this Friday, May 3. In an email sent to students at 11pm yesterday, he elaborates “classes are switched to Zoom and she will keep (students) updated on developments throughout the day.”

The evacuation began shortly before noon

As the morning progressed, police pressure increased. MPs France Insoumise, Thomas Portes and Aymeric Caron are on the ground trying to see the mobilization behind the police blockade. Music broadcast on the campus and slogans taken by the protesters resonate in the adjacent streets.

The evacuation has been decided definitively. The police raided the IEP and the activists were soon forced to leave. Under the close watch of the gendarmes and covered in their keffiyehs, they leave the rue Saint-Guillaume in groups of four. Some leave singing. “Even if Sciences Po doesn’t want to, we’re here. some singing. “Tahia tahia Falestine”, continue with others. Their faces covered by surgical masks, they all raise their hands in the air and make a V for victory. At the beginning of the afternoon, calm returned.

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