Occupation of Vleugel building by Palestine protesters ended

| Redactie

Protest group Enschede Students for Palestine occupied the Vleugel building on Wednesday afternoon for hours. The protesters found previous talks with the Executive Board ‘unproductive’ and demand that the UT sever ties with Israel-affiliated parties. Around 6.15pm, the protesters left the building.

A handful of demonstrators forced their way into the administration building, about twenty were outside. The revolving door of the Vleugel and the connecting door to the Spiegel was locked, so that no one could enter or exit the building. The atmosphere outside was calm; there were many Palestine flags, there was a banner in a tree and protesters shouted slogans or played guitar music.

One police car was at the scene for as short time. The officers were discussing with UT security what to do about the situation. Upon asked, Executive Board spokesperson Laurens van der Velde said mid-afternoon that the protesters who were inside 'are allowed to stay seated for the time being, but that no one else is allowed to enter.'

The protesters are dissatisfied with the two talks that have been held with the Executive Board so far and call the talks 'unproductive'. The action group says that this occupation of the Vleugel is 'necessary, after weeks of unproductive talks with the Executive Board, because the board does not take the problem seriously, does not endorse the urgency and last week completely rejected the main demands'.

Enschede Students for Palestine demands that the UT end its ties 'with companies and institutions that contribute to the genocide in Gaza'.

UT does not want to sever ties

Earlier, the Executive Board announced that it did not want to sever ties. This is in line with the other Dutch universities, which was affirmed by a letter from all rectors that appeared in the daily newspaper Trouw earlier this week. In an extensive interview with U-Today, UT rector Tom Veldkamp said the following about it: 'Protesters think it is obvious to break ties, but we don't want that. I share the idea that you have to take a critical look at who you work with, but by excluding you can be sure that you are not solving anything. This is about academic freedom. As rector, I'm not going to decide who our individual scientists do or do not work with, that's up to them.'

Spokesperson Brian Wieggers says in the afternoon the following on behalf of the action group: 'Security has informed us that the building closes at 6 pm. We have taken note of that.'

Update: Around 6.15pm, the occupation of the Vleugel came to an end. This happened after a delegation of the protest group spoke briefly with the Executive Board. A demonstrator indicated outside that the end of the occupation does not mean the end of the actions of Enschede Students for Palestine.

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