Swiss Pro-Palestine Protest Reaches University Of Bern


(MENAFN- Swissinfo) The student pro-Palestine protest has reached the University of Bern. On Sunday evening, about 60 people occupied the University's Unitobler building in the Länggass neighbourhood, as reported by a correspondent for the Keystone-SDA news agency.

This content was published on May 13, 2024 - 10:55 2 minutes Keystone-SDA

According to a spokesperson, most of the occupiers were students from the University of Bern. However, all other people are also invited to take part in the protest.

In a statement, the occupiers accuse the management of the university of having taken a clear political stance in the Middle East conflict.“Pro-Palestinian employees are being censored. Meanwhile, academic relations are maintained with Israeli institutions. This must stop.”, it declares.

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“We call on the university to respect the peaceful occupation and enter into dialogue with us,” the statement said. No statement was initially available from the university. Pro-Palestine protests also took place in Geneva, Lausanne, and Zurich last week.

In Bern, the University decided at the beginning of the year to dissolve the Middle East Institute in its current form. This was in response to the results of an administrative enquiry after a lecturer at the institute made supportive comments about the Hamas attack on Israel.

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On Sunday, the occupiers spoke of“censorship that attacks
the academic freedom of employees who are critical and in solidarity with Palestine”. This repressive climate means that the University of Bern is not fulfilling the role of the“progressive” space it wants to be.

According to the occupiers, they contacted the university executive board immediately after the action began. They told media representatives that they did not want to disrupt operations starting on Monday.

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“We're just taking up space so that we can draw attention to our concerns,” said one activist.“We will stay as long as necessary.” The protest is to remain peaceful.

Adapted from German by DeepL/dkk/mga

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Articles in this story
  • Timeline: Switzerland and the conflict in the Middle East
  • Conflicts: Should neutral Switzerland be more proactive?
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