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University of Bremen: Protest camp of pro-Palestinian activists – 2024-05-12 11:36:01

The conflict in the Middle East has also reached German universities. After occupations in Berlin and Leipzig, there is also an action at the University of Bremen. The police are on site.

Pro-Palestinian activists have set up a protest camp in a building at the University of Bremen. Around 25 to 30 people came together for an unannounced rally, a police spokesman said.

Emergency services are on site and it has been peaceful so far. A spokeswoman for the university also confirmed that the protest camp had been set up in the glass hall. According to the police spokesman, discussions are currently underway with the university management about how long the meeting will be approved. The University of Bremen has the house rules.

University Association: Universities are not places for violent protests

Meanwhile, the university association, student and police representatives criticized the occupations of universities by pro-Palestinian activists. Universities are places of differentiated intellectual debates, said the President of the German University Association, Lambert T. Koch, to the German Press Agency. They are “not places for violent and out-of-control protests, like recently at the HU and now also at the FU Berlin.”

On Tuesday, the Free University (FU) temporarily stopped operations because 150 activists occupied the courtyard. The police cleared the area in the afternoon. According to the university, activists also tried to occupy rooms and lecture halls at the university and property was damaged.

Officials in Leipzig were also called to a similar operation. There, around 50 activists occupied the auditorium and inner courtyard. The police cleared the lecture hall in the evening and said there were currently 13 suspects. The University of Leipzig wants to demand compensation from those involved in the offending. A university spokesman said this upon request. “Yesterday we were dealing with a group that was clearly looking for escalation.” It is still unclear whether these were students from the University of Leipzig. In addition, several graffiti were found around the university, which led to reports of property damage. According to the police, a total of more than 30 criminal proceedings were initiated.

Activists protested at Humboldt University on Friday. Around 150 people came together for an unregistered rally.

“Anyone who preaches intolerance should not count on tolerance”

Commenting on the events in Berlin, Koch said that the boundaries from legitimate criticism of Israel to anti-Semitism and from understandable compassion for the Palestinian civilian population to blatant support for the terrorist organization Hamas were repeatedly and alarmingly quickly crossed. It is right for university management to exercise their domestic rights. “Anyone who preaches intolerance must not count on tolerance,” it said. “We owe this not only, but especially to the Jewish university members who have been fearing for their safety at German universities since October 7th.”

The Federal Government’s Anti-Semitism Commissioner, Felix Klein, certified that the police and judiciary in Germany have done excellent work in dealing with anti-Semitic demonstrations since the Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel. This was recently shown by the Berlin police’s consistent intervention in the pro-Palestinian protests in front of Berlin’s Humboldt University, where “unbearable hatred and incitement against Israel were spread” last Friday.

Student associations for consistent action by the universities

Student associations demanded consistent action from the universities. “The university management must name the “protests” for what they are: gatherings that make anti-Semitism socially acceptable and massively endanger the safety of Jewish students,” said a letter from the Jewish Student Union of Germany (JSUD), the Ring of Christian Democratic Students (RCDS) and the Federal Association of Liberal University Groups, which was available to the Editorial Network Germany (RND). None of the occupiers mentioned the Israeli hostages, the letter said. The chairman of the RCDS called for action by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

According to the RND, the police union (GdP) called for a nationwide prevention plan to deal with anti-Semitic incidents at universities. “It is essential that all German universities and colleges implement the same procedures,” said union chairman Jochen Kopelke to the RND, referring to uniform house rules, criminal complaints and preventative measures.

In the USA, there have been protests at numerous universities for more than two weeks against Israel’s actions in the Gaza war and for solidarity with the Palestinians. The background is the unprecedented massacre with more than 1,200 deaths that terrorists from Hamas and other groups carried out in Israel on October 7th. Israel responded with massive air strikes and a ground offensive. Given the high number of civilian casualties and the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, Israel has come under international criticism.

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