French President Macron Criticises Blockades At University Gaza Protests - Eastern Mirror
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French President Macron criticises blockades at university Gaza protests

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By IANS Updated: May 05, 2024 7:06 pm
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PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron has criticised blockades at pro-Palestinian demonstrations at French universities, saying that the tactics went beyond legitimate means of debate and protest.

Macron said he understands that the events in the Gaza Strip, in particular, are upsetting people, “but preventing a debate has never helped resolve the conflict,” according to an interview published on Sunday in the newspapers La Provence and La Tribune Dimanche.

“It is perfectly legitimate and even reasonable and reassuring that our youth can say that international events affect them and discuss them. But using violence and blockades to force an institution to adopt this or that policy, to prevent other students from entering a lecture hall on the pretext that they are Jewish – that is not the Republic,” Macron said.

He said such behaviour does not reflect mutual respect, pluralism and a condemnation of racism and anti-Semitism.

On Friday, police broke up a sit-in by pro-Palestinian students at the renowned Sciences Po University in Paris, at which protesters had blocked entrances to university buildings.

The protesters denounced their university’s stance on the Gaza war and are demanding, among other things, that cooperation with Israeli universities be reconsidered.

The university management’s attempt to put an end to the conflict with a large-scale internal debate failed.

Pro-Palestinian students at other Sciences Po campuses in France and other French universities also recently blocked parts of the universities. Some protesters reportedly made anti-Semitic statements during the demonstrations.

Israel has been heavily bombarding the Gaza Strip from the air and ground for months now in military operations that were launched in retaliation for unprecedented attacks on October 7 led by the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

The October 7 attacks, which included massacres of civilians, left more than 1,200 people dead in Israel.

Israel has faced intense international criticism over the very high number of civilian casualties in Gaza and the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the besieged territory.

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By IANS Updated: May 05, 2024 7:06:53 pm
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