Staff at University of Amsterdam condemn crackdown on pro-Gaza encampment

Staff at University of Amsterdam condemn crackdown on pro-Gaza encampment
Staff at the University of Amsterdam have criticised the violent police crackdown on protesters and called for a walk out next week.
2 min read
09 May, 2024
University of Amsterdam staff have criticised the use of force against protesters [Getty]

Staff members at the University of Amsterdam have slammed the institution’s executive board for allowing a crackdown on protesters calling for a Gaza ceasefire.

In a public statement shared on Thursday, staff members say they are "horrified" by the actions of the executive board, who allegedly authorised police violence on staff and students engaging in non-violent protest.

"Today, once again, we witnessed our University Board, together with the Mayor, ordering unprecedented levels of violence on its students, staff and the broader public in the centre of Amsterdam," the statement notes.

The statement added that riot police bulldozed protest areas, brought in police dogs, and beat, pepper-sprayed and arrested people.

Staff at the university called out the board for the lack of negotiations with students and staff.

The protest encampment at the university was inspired by the widespread university protests across the US launched last month by students at Columbia University. The students are demanding the university divests from Israel linked companies and are calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

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Protesters in Amsterdam erected makeshift barriers using bricks, desks and pallets while police in riot gear struck them with batons and tore down the barricades on Wednesday.

At least 125 protesters have been arrested this week, with police saying the crackdown was “necessary to restore order”.

A mechanical digger was also used to destroy barricades at the university.

"In response we call on all employees to congregate outside the Roeterseilandcampus on Monday 13th May at 11am," the statement from the staff read, calling for people to join a walk-out followed by a staff meeting to discuss demands over reinstating the right to demonstrate and cutting ties with Israeli institutions.

The encampment in Amsterdam started on Monday, with activists chanting for a free Palestine, playing the drums, and barricading access to the area.

It comes as Israel continues to pound Gaza nd the death toll mounts.

At least 34,600 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed since the start of the war on 7 October, while at least 78,000 have been wounded in the same time frame. An additional 10,000 are believed to be still trapped under the rubble, according to Gaza’s Civil Defence crews.

Israel’s war on Gaza has levelled entire neighbours and plunged the Strip into a deep humanitarian crisis.

The Netherlands has been one of Israel's strongest allies since the latter's creation in 1948.