French police peacefully clear anti-Israel students from university sites

On Friday, French police peacefully removed dozens of students from a building at the Paris Institute of Political Studies, known as Sciences Po, who had gathered in support of Palestinians, echoing similar encampments and solidarity. Students waved Palestinian flags and chanted slogans in support of residents of Gaza, as Israel continues its offensive following the deadly Oct. 7 Hamas-led attack that triggered the Israeli-Hamas war. The Sciences Po building had been occupied since Thursday evening. The university administration had closed the main buildings and moved classes online. Anti-Israel students were planning to hold a protest later Friday in front of the Pantheon monument, near the elite Sorbonne University, to call for an end to Israel’s offensive in Gaza. On Thursday, similar protests took place in some other universities across the country, including in Lille and Lyon. The Prime Minister’s Office said police had been requested to remove students from 23 sites on Thursday and “all were evacuated within a few hours.” A police presence will be maintained near Sciences Po to prevent any further blockades, it said in a statement. Last week, tensions broke out near the elite university, which counts and Prime Minister Gabriel Attal among its many famous alumni. Pro-Palestine and pro-Israel demonstrators faced each other in a standoff in the street outside Sciences Po. Riot police stepped in to separate the groups. The protest ended peacefully as pro-Palestinian students agreed to leave.