Solidarity camp for Gaza on 'Koeveld'

Following a week of intense actions in Amsterdam and Utrecht, pro-Palestine protests have now also reached the TU/e campus. By setting up a tent camp, TU/e students and supporters from the city want to peacefully demonstrate that they expect the Executive Board to take measures regarding the university’s collaborations with Israel. They intend to break up the camp only after their three demands have been met: disclose ties with Israeli institutions and companies, sever ties with those complicit in the occupation in Gaza, and provide care for affected academics, as was done for Ukrainians in the past.

On Monday around lunchtime, sixteen tents were set up on the Koeveld. Celeste, a Design Academy student who does not want his last name to appear in the article, has just hung a Palestinian flag in one of the trees. TU/e security, along with two officers from the Eindhoven police force, are watching from nearby. “We don’t know how long these tents will stay up; we follow orders from our head of security, Gijs Spiele, who in turn consults with the Executive Board. What we do know is that open fires are not allowed, and we have warned the demonstrators about the expected thunderstorm this afternoon. That means it’s not wise to have a tent set up under the trees.”

The activists, represented by spokesperson Bram, also do not know how long they will be camping on TU/e's 'Groene Loper'. “We will leave when the demands are met. After multiple calls to action, TU/e continues to maintain ties with Israel, thereby contributing to the development of weapons and AI.”

Three demands

Firstly, the activists want TU/e to be transparent about all its ties with Israeli institutes and companies. Secondly, TU/e must sever all academic and non-academic collaborations with companies and institutes that are complicit in the occupation of Palestine. Finally, TU/e must create emergency funds for researchers, lecturers and students from Gaza and other parts of Palestine.

“Given its involvement in the production of weapons, microchips and artificial intelligence (AI) for Israel, TU/e is simply not neutral,” writes Bram in a press statement. “And we will not leave until our demands are heard.”

International student Celeste says he thinks that half of the people who are currently camping on the Koeveld are from the Design Academy. “We want to join forces with TU/e students and anyone else who feels called to action.” Bram thinks more tents will be set up over the course of the day. And he warmly welcomes everyone. “We call on all students, professors and other TU/e staff to join this protest. Show your solidarity, help make the world a little more just.”

National protest

Currently, protests are also being held at other universities. For example, protesters have again occupied buildings at the University of Amsterdam, after which the Mobile Unit has been called in. In addition, tent camps have been set up on the campuses of both Radboud University and the University of Groningen. Students and staff at Wageningen University & Research held a walk-out today, but emphasized that the protest will continue at another time. Finally, staff and students at TU Twente sent a letter to the CvB asking them to cut ties with Israel.

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