Officers were already present at the Sanders building in the morning. According to the police spokesperson, the university had informed them in advance that a demonstration would take place. “We anticipate on situations like this and see what is necessary.”

At around 6 pm, more police came to the campus; according to the spokesperson, this was also at the university’s request. “They probably asked people to leave first, and when that didn’t happen, they asked us,” said the police spokesperson. She would not say anything about the reason for the request. “That’s down to the university itself.”

‘Suddenly surrounded’

When they arrived on campus, the police ordered the demonstrators to leave.“Around fifty people stayed behind initially, but they also left when we brought in more officers. Then there were ten left, and we arrested them,” said the spokesperson.

According to OccupyEUR, all ten are students at Erasmus University. EM was able to verify this in the case of four of the students on Tuesday. One of the arrested EUR students, who wishes to remain anonymous, explained what happened during the evacuation: “I was a little startled when we were suddenly surrounded by police officers. Charlie, the spokesman for OccupyEUR, told people they could leave if they were worried about being arrested.”

The student wishes to remain anonymous because she is afraid that news about her arrest could have a negative impact on her future. The police have not been able to establish the identity of all the detainees, and the student would like to keep it that way. The student’s full name is known to the editors.

“I stayed there, sitting down, because I was so angry. We wanted to talk to the Executive Board, but instead they sent police officers to come for us,” the student says. “There were ten of us sitting arm-in-arm. The police pulled us apart. I was dragged away.” Pictures on the OccupyEUR Instagram page show a police officer dragging one of the detainees outside. “He was being pulled very hard by his jacket, which meant that he couldn’t breathe. We were taken away in a minibus.”

Bags searched

The detainees were taken to the police station where their details were recorded. They were then sent home. “I stayed there for about two hours. I was the last one to be questioned. The police also searched my bag to find my identity, but I only have an anonymous public transport chip card in my wallet,” said the student. “After a while, I think they got tired of it, and I was allowed to pack up my things and leave.”

According to a report on the EUR’s intranet, the reason for the escalation is that the university received information from ‘reliable sources’ that ‘made it impossible to guarantee safety on our campus’. The police spokesperson was not willing to say if the police were one of these sources. “But when I see that there were demonstrators from Extinction Rebellion, Occupy and Greenpeace, this is potentially something that could get out of hand. This context certainly played a role. Things might not have got out of hand, but unfortunately you never know which way it will go in advance. And sometimes you’re too late if that happens; in this case, we were on time or too early.”

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OccupyEUR, the group of staff and students occupying the Sanders Building, had the coffee…