Eindhoven students file charges after week of climate protests

Student activists at Eindhoven University of Technology are filing assault charges against the university’s executive board president, Robert-Jan Smits. Smits was personally involved in removing students from a boardroom they were trying to occupy. There have been occupations at other institutions as well.

photo Bridget Alcione Spoor


Late Monday afternoon, a statement from the Executive Board appeared on the TU/e site.  Among other things, it states that the start of the occupation action on Thursday, May 11, was not entirely orderly and that the Executive Board regrets this incident.

Last Thursday, University Rebellion and End Fossil Occupy activists took over a boardroom at Eindhoven University of Technology. They also tried to occupy a second boardroom, disrupting an ongoing meeting.

The students were removed from the room by security. Footage of the incident shows that this was done by force, with Smits helping to clear the room. AD reports that the students have filed charges against Smits. The university spokesperson could not be reached for comment by phone.

Climate Action Week

Last week, activists also occupied buildings at Utrecht University, Delft University of Technology, Erasmus University Rotterdam and Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences. In Rotterdam, 12 students were arrested. The other protests were relatively peaceful; occupations were ended by security guards or police, but no arrests or violent incidents have been reported.


In Utrecht, the occupation lasted several days. Utrecht University’s executive board president Anton Pijpers pledged that the university would henceforth use the term ‘climate emergency’ instead of ‘climate change’, stating that the activists had given the board food for thought. Most of the activists’ demands were not met, however. This was also the case at the other institutions. 

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