Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) files complaint against violence during pro-Palestinian protest

About a hundred students set up a protest camp on a field of the Solbosch campus at the Université Libre de Bruxelles on Tuesday morning. The activists denounced the university’s ties with Israel and demonstrated for ‘ending the colonisation of Palestine’. According to them, ULB is complicit in the genocide in Gaza through its relations with Israeli institutions. 

But there was also escalation during the protest. According to the Coordinating Committee of Jewish Organisations in Belgium (CCOJB), the president of the Union of Jewish Students in Belgium, Gad Deshayes, was beaten and insulted. The security service intervened immediately and calm was restored, but official complaints will be filed as acts of violence were committed, rector Annemie Schaus told RTBF. Dialogue and negotiations between the university and the protesters are ongoing and an evacuation is currently not being considered.

At Ghent University, too, a group of students is currently occupying a building and demanding a halt to all academic collaborations with Israel. The occupations are part of the wave of student protests that blew over to Europe from the United States. This has led to heavy-handed evacuations of occupied buildings and clashes between protesters and counter-protesters in New York, Los Angeles and Paris, among others.

Meanwhile, Israel said on Wednesday that it had reopened the Kerem Shalom border crossing to humanitarian aid for Gaza, four days after closing it in response to a rocket attack claimed by Hamas that killed four of its soldiers. Qatar and the African Union, in turn, condemned Israel’s incursion into the southern Gaza city of Rafah and called on the international community to stop a “deadly escalation” of the war and prevent a “genocide”.


Students occupy a building on the Solbosch campus of the Université libre de Bruxelles university in solidarity with Gaza © BELGA PHOTO LOU LAMPAERT


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