The protest can go ahead, an Erasmus University spokesperson stressed. Physical education will not. The same applies to exams, PhD defences, orations and events. Exams will be moved to another day. Diploma ceremonies and PhD defences will be moved to another location. The municipality of Rotterdam helps find alternative locations. “They know they are asking a lot of us by insisting on a closure, and so they are helping where possible. We also know: there is no other way now”, said the spokesperson.

The Rotterdam triangle, consisting of mayor, police and prosecutors, are responsible for security in the city. Their lack of knowledge of the size and nature of the protest made them request the closure of the buildings, a spokesman for the mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb said. “We see a lot of posts on social media calling for protests on campus.” Many more than just from the student parties involved. That the campus has lots of large public buildings would make ensuring safety more difficult. Protesters could easily disappear into these buildings.

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Pro-Palestinian protest on Woudestein campus: what to expect?

Students will hold a protest in solidarity with Palestine on campus Woudestein on…

Because previous pro-Palestine protests got out of hand, such as in Amsterdam where the damage amounted to one and a half million euros, the same is feared at the Rotterdam university. “However, because the nature and scale of the demonstration cannot be estimated, the has urged us to take this preventive measure and close all buildings”, president Ed Brinksma informed. “The course of protests elsewhere in the country shows that the risks can be considerable.”

He calls the closure ‘extremely disappointing’. “Our own students and staff want to use this demonstration to peacefully draw attention to the situation in Gaza and the changes they want to see. We think it is important to be able to demonstrate. By not making our buildings accessible, we also hope that this demonstration will have the necessary space.”

The education centre at Erasmus MC and the Hague-based International Institute of Social Studies will remain open on Thursday.

What does this mean for the protest?

What the closure of the education buildings means for the protest is not yet clear. Among those organising it are student clubs OccupyEUR, Erasmus School of Colour, STUUR Rotterdam and Progressive Students Party. They will talk about the consequences on Wednesday evening.

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