Dozens of students occupied an empty building of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) for some time on Monday. The group, including members of University Rebellion and Mokum Kraakt, demanded that the university break its ties with oil company Shell.
Around 23:45, the UvA announced that the building had been evacuated by the Mobile Unit (ME) because the protesters would not leave voluntarily. Thirty people were detained. Earlier in the day, the president and vice-president of the UvA administration entered into talks with the activists. They promised a "broad" debate within the UvA about cooperation in research, particularly with Shell.
That was not enough to persuade the protesters to leave. The Executive Board "regrets that police deployment was necessary and remains convinced of the good intentions of the protesting students", it said in a response.
The evacuation did not happen by itself. Activists tried to hold back the police, resisted the arrival of the ME and climbed onto the roof unfurling a banner: "Cops off campus", it read. The police needed a sturdy tool to enter, reports a reporter from city broadcaster AT5.
A spokesperson for UvA Rebellion reveals that they are "deeply disappointed" with the UvA board and the violence used by the ME during the eviction. They are holding a noise demonstration today in front of the door of the police station where the activists are being held.
In an earlier response to the December petition, the UvA revealed that it was collaborating with other parties, including Shell, in four research projects on sustainability. Scientific integrity would not be at stake.
There would be no other ties with Shell. For instance, the company does not sponsor meetings, trips or fairs. However, the company might have come to certain career days at the invitation of students.
The activists speak of greenwashing (giving the appearance of sustainability). They find it incomprehensible that the university is letting a protest against this end by force.
(HOP, Bas Belleman / Delta, Rob van der Wal)
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