Dies natalis UT interrupted twice by Palestine demonstrators

| Stan Waning

UT's 62nd dies natalis was interrupted twice on Friday afternoon by demonstrators from the Enschede Students for Palestine action group. They started shouting through the venue during keynote speaker Jan Hendrik Dronkers' speech.

Photo by: Klaas-Jelmer Sixma

Dronkers, secretary-general at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, had just started his talk, when a pair of protesters at the front of the venue stood up and shouted that UT was jointly responsible for 'the genocide in Gaza'. The duo also carried pro-Palestinian banners.

Rector Tom Veldkamp intervened, reminded the pair of a second appointment that the Executive Board has with them soon and asked them to leave. His action earned him applause from the audience. When the demonstrators resumed their story, boos followed from the audience. The pair were then escorted out of the audience, after which Dronkers could resume his speech.

Peace seemed to have returned, but at the end of Dronkers' speech, two more demonstrators came into action on the other side of the venue. This duo was more difficult to remove, but after some pushing and shoving, they too left the room. Tom Veldkamp apologised to the audience after Dronkers' speech. 'I honestly feel insulted and see no further reason to have further talks with this action group.'

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