According to pro-Palestinian Sciences-Po students, their “right to demonstrate peacefully has been violated”

“Whether you protest or not, Gazans will die.” It is in these terms that the provisional administrator of Sciences Po, Jean Bassères, responded to the students of the pro-Palestinian movement. These students who, since mid-March, have initiated several actions aimed at defending international humanitarian law which, according to them, has been violated in the Gaza Strip. Actions which culminated in the occupation of April 24 (then April 26).

Many students repeat these words from Jean Bassères to me, incredulous, as if they condense all the indifference of the administration in the face of an injustice that is unacceptable to them. However, commitment is part of the DNA of this prestigious school.

“This is not a new movement”

This is what Ismail El Gataa, an Italian-Moroccan student, reminds me of, the only one who, in defiance of disciplinary measures, allows me to use his full name. “Sciences-Po is a school that encourages political engagement. It’s part of its culture. The current interim director did what no one had ever dared to do in the history of the institution: called the police to evict his own students. There have been lots of occupations in the history of Sciences-Po, and the police have never been called to intervene.”

A choice which testifies to the criminalization of the pro-Palestinian movement, which, as Heeba, a Franco-Moroccan student, explains to me, “is a movement which is not affiliated with any party, which brings together students from different backgrounds, different religions, different nationalities”. There are even Jewish students there. And, on this subject, H.’s words are clear and unambiguous: “Many people in my family died during the Holocaust, and I categorically refuse to let it happen, to act as if nothing had happened.”

The point of view

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