At 6.00 pm, the ultimatum set by Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb for the protesters to relocate their tent camp to another spot on campus expired.

The protesters refused to comply. In the two hours that followed, they chanted slogans almost continuously, interspersed with speeches about the situation of Palestinian prisoners and instructions on dealing with the police. The group consisted mainly of students, with a small group of staff members present until the end.

Buzzing drone

Meanwhile, police vans gathered out of sight at the edges of the campus. A drone buzzed overhead. Around 8.00 pm, the police vans emerged, and through a megaphone, the police announced their intention to clear the area, telling the protesters it was time to leave. A wide cordon of riot police then advanced from the sports building towards the protesters.

To the surprise of many, the protesters announced that they would leave the campus in a march towards the city. Followed by the riot police, a few dozen protesters walked off the campus in a large group, heading towards Honingerdijk.

Belongings in containers

Shortly after, once the police were sure the protesters were really gone, a cleaning crew started dismantling the encampment. The remaining belongings and tents were put into containers, which the protesters can collect later.

The university announced shortly after the end of the demonstration that removing the graffiti would take all Monday. On Tuesday, the setup for the HeartBeat festival will begin, which is why the tent camp had to leave Erasmus Plaza.

Executive Board: right to protest doesn't exceed everything else

The Executive Board stated Sunday night that it was ‘unfortunate’ that the police had to intervene, but the board members were also ‘relieved’ that the protesters left voluntarily. “We, too, have been touched day by day by the terrible events that continue to follow one another in Gaza and Israel. The campus is there for everyone. The right to demonstrate is important, but it doesn’t exceed everything else. Especially since we offered the protesters a good alternative location on campus, which would not interfere with the activities of the coming weeks.”

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