Most of the protesters left the hall around 7:30 pm. They did so after security guards had twice called for them to leave the premises by 7:30 pm at the latest, otherwise the ‘social safety’ of the protesters would not be guaranteed. At the previous demonstration, OccupyEUR was allowed to stay until 10:30 pm, but as of 1 April, opening hours have been changed to save energy.

The twelve remaining protesters sat hunched in a circle on the ground, their faces painted to prevent facial recognition. As they were arrested one by one, they shouted once more along with the rest of the group outside their mantra: ‘Hoe laat is het? Solidariteit!’ (‘What time is it? Solidarity!’)

occupyeur arrestaties erasmusgebouw mei 2023 foto Elmer (7)
Officers are preparing to arrest the group of remaining protesters. Image credit: Elmer Smaling

City councillor Mina Morkoç (GroenLinks) was a legal observer during the demonstration. She tried to follow closely how the police handled the students during the arrests, but she was prevented from doing so several times by security guards. Only after mediation by a police officer could she continue her work. Morkoç: “I find it disappointing that the university allowed the protest to be cleared so quickly, and then also by such a large number of police officers.”

Warning from the Executive Board

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Rector Annelien Bredenoord at the Occupy protest in May. Image credit: Esther Dijkstra

The protest started in the rain, around 10.30 am at the pond and continued a little later in the hall in front of the auditorium. There, OccupyEUR organised all kinds of workshops and lectures and participants made music.

Around 2pm, the Executive Board sent an email to the activists with a warning. According to the board, the protesters were not following the house rules. “You are obstructing education and even exams by your presence and the noise you produce. If this continues to be the case, we will take measures.” Which exams were impacted by the protest is unclear. The board also wrote that several attempts were made to engage in conversation, but the activists were not open to it.

At the end of the afternoon, four protesters climbed the Theil building. From recesses in front of the windows on the square side, they hung three large banners reading ‘smash fossil capitalism’. When the four were down again and tried to walk back to the square via a ledge, the atmosphere became grim for a moment. A security guard tried to stop them by standing in the way and stepped aside a moment later. The activist got angry because he thought the situation was dangerous. The four then ran into the Theil building.

Update Thursday, 11 May: The security guard plans to press charges against the activist who tried to leave via the ledge. According to the security guard, the latter allegedly threatened to pull him off the ledge, into a four-metre drop. The activist denies this. The EUR student says he was afraid of falling, and that he warned the security guard that he was the only one the student could cling to if he fell.

OccupyEUR 9.5.2023_3_Esther Dijkstra

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