Independent journalism about VU Amsterdam | Since 1953
18 April 2024

& Culture

Police arrest protesters at AUC

Activists demanding VU and UvA boycott Israel, blocked off access to Amsterdam University College Monday morning, resulting in cancelled classes and eventual arrests.

After various protest actions at the Amsterdam University College, which is a joint initiative by VU Amsterdam and the University of Amsterdam, activists picketed by the bridge to prevent people from entering the building. There was also a support demonstration in front of the bridge.

Between 9.00 AM and 12.00 PM, the police showed up to tell the activists to move to a designated area twice. Both times, the majority of the picketers moved to the support demonstration, which grew to roughly fifty people. But some activists – first three and eventually five – remained on the bridge, risking arrest.

Cuffed and dragged

Within those first hours, things were relatively uneventful. As classes kept being cancelled, there was not much of a reason for people to cross the picket and not much of an audience to listen to the chants. A few people angrily tried to force their way through the masked protesters who locked arms with each other, apparently to take the bridge as a shortcut to neighboring Science Park buildings. Only one of them succeeded in getting through. People passing by in traffic also engaged with the protesters. Some honking in support, while others voiced disapproval of the protesters. “Hamas supporters!”, a cyclist yelled as he passed the scene.

By 12.55 PM the police had returned in a van to arrest the people on the bridge. They were cuffed, one pressed against the ground and another against the railing. Three activists walked along into the police van, while two others were dragged across the ground. At the same time activists chanted “cops off campus”, with some of them yelling in the police officers’ faces. During this heated moment, the police aggressively pushed away several activists and hit at least one person with a baton.

Visibly shaken up

In the aftermath, various students were crying and visibly shaken up by what had just taken place, taking time to console each other. Two concerned AUC staff members were also among the crowd of mostly students. They said they were there to witness what was going on, out of concern for their students and to bridge the divide between staff and students.

Afterwards, the protesters announced that they would go to the police station where the arrested activists were taken to continue a noise protest. Tuesday morning, the activists returned to picket on the bridge, which they intend to do until Thursday the 28th of March.


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