No masks, no sleeping at uni, protesting students are told

Last week's protests in Amsterdam. Photo: Gareth Lemon

Dutch universities have agreed not to negotiate with students who cover their faces and will ban students from sleeping on the premises, pending the finalisation of a new protocol to deal with pro-Palestine protests.

Protests have been ongoing at several universities for more than a week and riot police were drafted in to break up demonstrations in Amsterdam and Utrecht.

The University of Amsterdam’s rector Peter-Paul Verbeek had earlier complained that negotiations with students had been made more difficult because some of the participants were masked, making them hard to understand.

Jouke de Vries, head of the universities association UNL, and who is also chairman of the University of Groningen, said it is important to “know who you are talking to if decisions by the board have to be made.”

He also said the tone of the negotiations at his university had been aggressive and that photos of victims in Gaza had been thrown on the table.

De Vries also said the actions of the students had made some Jewish students feel unsafe, which he said was “unacceptable”.

The University of Amsterdam is open again following four days of demonstrations.  The protests are ongoing and a walk-out has been planned for Monday morning.

It is not clear if other universities will follow suit but according to the Parool, similar protests are planned in Utrecht, Leiden and Nijmegen.

Some €1.5 million worth of damage was done to the UvA university buildings during the protests, university authorities estimated. They have not yet decided if the students will be held liable.

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