Gaza protest in Paris sees tense standoff with Israel supporters By Reuters

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By Lucien Libert

PARIS (Reuters) – Tensions flared in front of Paris’ prestigious Sciences Po university over the war in Gaza on Friday as pro-Israeli protesters came to challenge pro-Palestinian students occupying the building.

Police moved in to keep the two groups apart.

Chanting their support for the Palestinians, some students had been occupying a Sciences Po building since the night, displaying Palestinian flags at windows and over the entrance.

Several wore the black-and-white keffiyeh head scarf that has become an emblem of solidarity with Gaza.

They demanded the institution condemn Israel’s actions, in a protest that echoed similar demonstrations on U.S. campuses.

“When we see what is happening in the United States, and now in Australia, we’re really hoping it will catch on here in France, the academic world has a role to play,” said 22-year-old Hicham, a masters student in human rights and humanitarian studies at Sciences Po.

“We hope that will spread to all universities and beyond … we won’t give in until the genocide in Gaza ends,” said 20-year old Zoe, a masters student in public administration at Sciences Po.

Later in the day, pro-Israel protesters, some wrapped in Israeli or French flags, walked to the building in protest.

Renewed clashes between police and students opposed to Israel’s war in Gaza broke out on U.S campuses Thursday, raising questions about forceful methods being used to shut down protests that have intensified since mass arrests at Columbia University last week.

Israel has killed at least 34,305 Palestinians in its assault on Gaza, health authorities in the enclave said on Thursday. Israel is retaliating against an Oct. 7 Hamas attack that killed 1,200 people and led to 253 taken hostage, according to Israeli tallies.

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