Police break up pro-Palestinian camp at Amsterdam university as campus protests spread to Europe

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Police arrested some 125 activists as they broke up a pro-Palestinian demonstration camp at the University of Amsterdam in the early hours of Tuesday, as protests that have roiled campuses in the United States spread into Europe.

Police in the Dutch capital said in a statement on the social media platform X that their action was “necessary to restore order” after protests turned violent. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Video from the scene aired by national broadcaster NOS showed police using a mechanical digger to push down barricades and officers wielding batons and shields moving in to end the demonstration, beating some of the protesters and pulling down tents.

Protesters formed barricades from wooden pallets and bicycles, national broadcaster NOS reported.

Scores of demonstrators occupied a small island at the university on Monday, urging Amsterdam universities to break academic ties with Israel because of its devastating attacks on Gaza in the aftermath of the deadly Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas militants in southern Israel.

There have also been demonstrations in recent days at campuses in France and the United Kingdom.

Photos from the Amsterdam campus Tuesday morning showed tents, banners and food along with piles of cobbles that had been pulled up from the street.

Before police moved in, scuffles broke out Monday night between two rival groups of activists.

Police said in a statement that they cleared the makeshift camp after the protesters refused repeated orders to leave.

“The protest in this form created a very unsafe situation, partly due to the barricades that prevented emergency services from entering the site. In the event of a disaster, the activists themselves could possibly become stuck on the site,” police said.

Police said the campus was calm Tuesday morning, but that officers remained present in the area.

Calls to the university went unanswered early Tuesday and the university did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

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