German police clear pro-Palestinian protesters from Berlin university


German police cleared about 150 pro-Palestinian demonstrators from a Berlin university faculty on Thursday, ending one of a wave of student-led protests across Europe over Israel’s conduct in its war against Hamas.

Activists had occupied several rooms of the Humboldt University’s Institute for Social Sciences in downtown Berlin on Wednesday.

Student Coalition Berlin, the group which organized the protest, called in a statement posted on social media for the university to “take an active role in ending the genocide against the people of Palestine and their decades-long suffering.”

University administrators agreed after talks with protest leaders to let them stay until Thursday evening. But they called in the police when some of them refused to leave, German news agency dpa reported.

Police spokeswoman Beate Ostertag said that, while some of the demonstrators left voluntarily, police officers had to lead others from the building. Police said about 130 people were briefly detained during the operation, in which officers broke through several barricaded doors.

Student protests over the war in Gaza that began in the United States have spread to university campuses in many European countries. In Germany, protests have taken place this week at universities in cities including Munich and Leipzig.

Berlin authorities have taken a tough line against anti-Israeli demonstrations, urging police to step in if demonstrators use slogans that could incite hatred against Jews – taboo in a country marked by the memory of the Holocaust.

“There is no place for hate and anti-Semitism in Berlin and at our universities,” said Burkard Dregger, a lawmaker for the Christian Democratic Union, which leads the Berlin state government.

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