Students in Athens Rally at Israeli Embassy in Solidarity with Gaza

University students across the US and Europe are staging protests in solidarity with Palestine, demanding universities divest from companies supporting Israel's military. The protests have led to hundreds of arrests, reflecting growing opposition to Israel's actions in Gaza.

Nasiru Eneji Abdulrasheed
New Update
University Students Protest in Solidarity with Palestine, Facing Arrests and Repression

University Students Protest in Solidarity with Palestine, Facing Arrests and Repression

In a powerful display of solidarity, university students in Athens have organized a protest outside the Israeli embassy. Their voices resonate with empathy for Palestine, echoing across the globe. University students across the United States and in Paris have been staging protests and setting up encampments on campuses in solidarity with Palestine and against Israel's military actions in Gaza. The protests have led to hundreds of arrests, with police clearing out encampments at several universities, including Columbia University, the University of Texas at Austin, Northeastern University, and Tufts University.

The protesters are demanding that universities divest from companies supporting Israel's military efforts and separate themselves from Israel. They are also calling for a ceasefire and an end to U.S. funding and weapons supply to the war effort. Some protesters have faced threats of disciplinary action and termination for participating in the demonstrations.

At Columbia University in New York, student protesters were ordered to dismantle their encampment after negotiations with the university failed. The protesters were demanding that Columbia halt investments with companies profiting from Israel's war in Gaza and grant amnesty for students and faculty involved in the protests. Faculty members formed a human barricade to prevent the administration from forcibly removing the protesters.

Why this matters: The student protests reflect growing opposition to Israel's military campaign in Gaza and the U.S. government's support for it. The protests are part of a broader anti-war movement that has inspired similar solidarity encampments across the nation and globally, putting pressure on universities to reevaluate their ties to Israel.

The protests have also spread to Europe, with French police removing students from the Sorbonne university in Paris. Tensions erupted at another elite university in the French capital region, the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po), where pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli demonstrators faced off in a tense standoff outside the school, leading to the intervention of riot police.

Meanwhile, in Athens, Greece, thousands of students demonstrated in front of the U.S. embassy on April 26 in solidarity with the U.S. students protesting against their government's support for Israel. The Greek students' unions declared their support for the U.S. students' struggle against repression and for their voices opposing the violence against Palestinians.

University administrations have taken varying stances on the protests. Some have reached agreements with the protesters, allowing the encampments to continue for a limited time, while others have taken a harder stance, citing the need to prepare for commencement ceremonies and maintain campus safety and security. The White House has declined to comment on whether the protesters should face disciplinary actions, reiterating President Biden's support for the right to peacefully protest while criticizing antisemitic rhetoric and calls for violence.

The Palestinian Educational Collective, a group of Palestinian youth, students, and university workers, expressed their support and solidarity with the protesters, calling their actions a "decisive turning point" in the struggle for the liberation of the Palestinian people. The collective condemned the use of brutal force against the protesters and affirmed the interconnectedness of the global struggle against oppression and colonialism.

Key Takeaways

  • University students across the US and Paris protest in solidarity with Palestine.
  • Protesters demand universities divest from companies supporting Israel's military actions.
  • Protests have led to hundreds of arrests as universities clear out encampments.
  • Protests have spread to Europe, with similar solidarity demonstrations in Greece and France.
  • University administrations have taken varying stances, with some allowing limited encampments.