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Foto: Toon Meijerink

Loud Palestine demonstration marches through REC E library: ‘‘We will not be silent!’‘

Toon Meijerink ,
19 april 2024 - 17:07

On Friday between 13 and 14 in the afternoon, a loud Palestine demonstration took place on the Roeterseilandcampus. When the demonstration started moving around after 15 minutes, a confrontation with UvA security ensued. The demonstrators then continued their way to the library areas of REC E. ‘‘We won’t be silent!’’

This afternoon around 13.00, around fifty students, some fifteen of them wearing face coverings, once again took place in REC A. Encouraged by a large drum, they shouted for a ‘‘free Palestine’’ and an end to ‘‘the genocide of Palestinians’’. After about 15 minutes, they started marching around the Roeterseiland buildings.


The students shouted that it is a ‘‘disgrace’’ that the UvA maintains ties with ‘‘Hebrew universities’’, referring to Israeli universities.After all, according to the protesters, some universities cooperate in research that helps the Israeli army.


The protesters also held up several placards calling for the release of University of Jerusalem professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian. She was arrested by Israeli police on Thursday 18 April on suspicion of ‘‘sedition’’. Among other things, the professor had claimed that ‘‘Zionism must be abolished’’ and that Hamas’’ supposed sexual violence was possibly ‘‘a lie’’ by Israel.


Confrontation with security

For 15 minutes, the protesters held a customary sit-in with some speeches in REC A, with a single student making his way through the bodies with raised middle fingers. Then the 50-strong procession moved to the first floor of REC A.


But a running, uncontrolled demonstration would not be allowed by the four UvA security guards present. ‘‘This is not authorised,’’ they argued. One security guard thus got into a physical confrontation with a protester walking up the stairs. The security guard pulled the man by his coat and tried to push him backwards. Another security guard also tried to pull down a Palestine flag.


In the end, the UvA security decided not to take further action. This allowed the protesters to continue walking to the wings of the REC A building. So unlike in previous demonstrations, no arrests were made. The police were not present.

Foto: Toon Meijerink
With ‘‘zionism, apartheid, genocide’’ the makers label the Israeli staate

Scanning slogans like ‘‘We are all Palestinians’’ and ‘‘Students united’’, the protesters marched across the bridge of the Nieuwe Achtergracht to the canteen in REC E. The procession continued to the upper floors of the building to the library. They walked several laps through the silent learning spaces, scanning: ‘‘We won’t be silent!’’ ‘‘Bunch of lunatics,’’ some said irritably towards the protesters. Most students, however, pulled out their mobile phones to film the demonstration in the library.


A little after 14.00, the leaders of the demonstration decided it was time to disband the procession. On the bridge, they said their goodbyes and once more shouted through the megaphone that ‘‘the struggle will not end until Palestine is free’’.