Some of the protesters have covered their faces with Palestinian scarves, there is music and a steady stream of slogans against the war in Gaza. The demands to the Executive Board (CvB) are still the same: to make transparent all contacts and collaborations with Israeli institutions and to break those ties.

On social media, protest group Rotterdam Students for Palestine announced early this afternoon that there would be a protest. How long it will last and whether there are plans to spend the night on campus, as already happened at other universities, the protesters did not yet say.

Promises not concrete enough

The steps previously promised by the CvB, such as organising dialogue tables on the university’s role in the issue, setting up a committee to review the universities’ international collaborations and contributing to the reconstruction of Gaza, are not concrete enough for the protesters.

Speaking on behalf of the protesters, Çağlar Köseoğlu, a lecturer at Erasmus University College, said: “As long as the board does not meet our demands we are not going to stop. Why is the board hiding behind a committee, and can’t they themselves decide to cut ties with Israel? And a lot is still unclear about the committee: is the advice binding, what normative criteria will be used? What is the role of students and teachers?”

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CvB stance ‘indefensible’

Köseoğlu calls the plans of the CvB more of a strategy to ‘neutralise the momentum of the protests and not have to make any commitments. He calls it ‘indefensible’ to take this neutral stance ‘during a genocide’. “It certainly does not do justice to EUR’s official Erasmian values, such as civic engagement and critical world citizenship.”

Köseoğlu hopes it will remain a peaceful protest and that many people will come to be informed and join the protest.

Palestina protest Rotterdam CS 16052024_7_Tyna Le

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Far from my bed

About ten metres away, one of the protesting students is talking to two passing law students who are just coming out of class.  They appreciate that she engaged in conversation with them. “I really liked that she tried to explain why they are standing here. I am not against this protest in itself, but it feels like a step too far to stand there”, says the student.
He himself says he is ‘against Hamas but on the side of the Palestinian people’, but also admits that the whole situation feels far from his mind.

A university spokesperson said that ‘demonstrating on campus is fine as long as it is peaceful’. “It is good to see that the demonstration seems to be proceed without incident”, he said.

This is how the protest went down on 16 May Source: youtu.be

Buildings accessible with pass

The university is keeping track of any measures taken via a liveblog. On it, it says: “At the moment the demonstration is proceeding peacefully, there is no reason to decide to close the buildings completely as before. All planned meetings, lectures and other events will continue. As a precaution, it has been decided that the Sanders Building, the Erasmus Building and the Mandeville Building will only be accessible on presentation of staff or student ID cards. It is simply possible to drive out of the car parks, entry is not possible at the moment. The Food Plaza closed at five as a precautionary measure’.

Exactly two weeks ago, a protest was also announced on campus, but it was moved to Central Station at the last minute after the university decided to close all buildings on campus the night before.

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