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Foto: Wessel Wierda

Update | ABC building cleared by ME after occupation, 14 arrests

Wessel Wierda,
16 mei 2023 - 16:39

The ABC building on the Roeterseilandcampus has been occupied by some 200 students. Tents and sleeping bags are already set up. They are demanding that the UvA “decarbonize, decolonize, and democratize.”

The word is out: “Uni occupied!” After occupations in other university cities, the ABC building on the Roeters Island campus is now also occupied. Tents and sleeping bags are already ready and students - many wearing colored balaclavas - are camped out across the hall.  Their message is unequivocal: “The university belongs to us - students and teachers, unite and fight!”

The purpose of the occupation is made clear by the dozens of banners on the walls of the ABC building and on the campus bridge. As with previous demonstrations at the UvA, it’s all about decarbonizing, decolonizing, and democratizing the UvA - three Ds for short. Also hanging from the mezzanine of the ABC building is a life-size flag that reads “Free Palestine” and “Cut ties with Israeli colonizers.”
“Shocking,” student Ravi Ramezani calls the scene. He happens to be on campus today. He doesn’t directly disagree with the message of the action, “but they should just do it out in the open. I get that they want to shock people, but you don’t have to cover your face with a bandana. That can scare students a lot.”


The police
The expectation is that the police might intervene, which - especially after the previous occupation by the former Amsterdam Academic Club - is by no means desirable among students. “Cops off campus” was heard several times. The police then allegedly caused, among other things, “bruises” and “a broken hand,” according to spokespersons for Amsterdam Autonomous Coalition and UvA Rebellion. They are also the organizers of the occupation this Tuesday.


Update 11:23 p.m.:

The ME proceeded to evacuate the building. This did not always go smoothly: the students sometimes resisted vigorously. Even after repeated calls from the police, many activists refused to leave the premises voluntarily. They were eventually taken out of the building by the ME and put into an arrest van. Before midnight, peace returned to the campus.

Foto: Photo: Wessel Wierda
Zep van de Visse

Until then, there will be dancing, singing – “Which side are you on?” - and shouting: “I say ‘fuck,’ you say ‘Shell.’ Fuck! Shell!” The Antikantine is also present to provide food for the demonstrating students and bystanders.

Exactly how long the occupation will last is not yet certain. According to UvA Rebellion member Zep van de Visse (22), the program will, in principle, last until 8:00 p.m. But: “The fact that there are sleeping bags means that the plan is to stay here,” he tells a police officer present. “But I don’t know if people are willing to stay overnight.”

 A UvA spokesperson let it be known that demonstrating and protesting “is always allowed, even within the walls of the UvA,” but emphasized that the UvA’s house rules must be respected. Among other things, this means that spending the night in the buildings is not permitted.

“At 10:00 p.m. the premises close, at which time all students and staff must leave the building or premises, including those participating in the demonstration.” The spokesperson would not speculate on a possible eviction. “We do not anticipate an eviction and assume that everyone will voluntarily leave the premises at 10:00 p.m.”


During the occupation, you could follow the latest developments here in our liveblog.

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