The Lille Institute of Political Studies was closed on Thursday May 2, and access to the Lille Higher School of Journalism (ESJ) was blocked due to mobilization in support of the Palestinian people.

After closing the establishment for the morning, the management of Sciences Po Lille announced Thursday noon to extend this decision to the whole day, after an “attempt to block” by students “partly external” to Science Po, said the management in a press release. The planned exams are therefore postponed, we learned from the same source.

The students who had mobilized at dawn for this blockade then went to the neighboring ESJ, where they blocked the access, chanting: “Children of Gaza, children of Palestine, it is humanity that we’re murdering! » “No more ethics on our sets”, “More than 100 journalists dead in Gaza”, could we read on signs posted in front of the establishment, while around fifty demonstrators stood in front of the doors locked by chains .

“There is no intrusion inside the school, no breakage outside,” explained the director of the ESJ, Pierre Savary, to Agence France-Presse (AFP). recalling that this type of action is “very rare at the ESJ”. Classes are canceled for the entire day.

Among the students’ demands, the cancellation of a joint master’s degree from Sciences Po Lille with Tel Aviv University. “Our board of directors has clearly spoken out against the boycott of Israeli universities,” declared the management of Science Po, while considering it “legitimate that our community can express its solidarity with the victims of the war.” A meeting is planned for Friday to reflect on “the actions to be taken within the school and in conjunction with our partners”.

A handful of students demanding a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip also blocked access on Thursday to a university site in Saint-Etienne, where the police had already intervened on Tuesday, noted a correspondent from the AFP. Their evacuation by the police took place around 11 a.m. without any clashes, the presidency of the Jean-Monnet University, which had made the request, told AFP.

From the beginning of the morning, like Monday morning, around fifteen students had piled up trash cans in front of the entrances to the building of Jean-Monnet University, which houses the department of political and territorial studies, the branch of the IEP de Lyon, and the Saint-Etienne School of Economics.

Ensuring “maintenance of order”

Several gatherings and blockades have taken place since last week on Sciences Po sites and in French universities, leading in some cases to the intervention of the police, echoing an ongoing mobilization on several campuses in the United States. . The police intervened in particular at Sciences Po Paris and at the Sorbonne, at the request of the Prime Minister, Gabriel Attal.

The Minister of Higher Education, Sylvie Retailleau, on Thursday asked university presidents to ensure the “maintenance of public order”, using “the fullest extent of the powers” ​​available to them, in a context of mobilizations in support of Gaza on campus.

“I ask you to use the fullest extent of the powers conferred on you by the education code”, particularly in terms of disciplinary sanctions in the event of disturbances or recourse to the police, he said. she said during a remote intervention with university presidents, transmitted by the ministry to AFP.

“Presidents are responsible for maintaining order on university grounds. And the police can only enter at the request of the university authority,” explained the minister to those responsible for French campuses (74 public universities in France). The minister also reminded them that they can also issue a “temporary ban on access to the establishment” against a student who threatens another.

Ms. Retailleau also asked them to “guarantee” the “plurality of expressions” within universities and to “strengthen [their] systems to allow all debates to be held in your establishments, in compliance with the law, naturally , but also people and ideas”.

While students mobilized for the Palestinian cause at Sciences Po Paris question the school’s “partnerships with universities and organizations supporting the State of Israel”, the minister affirmed that it is “out of the question that universities take an institutional position in favor of this or that claim in the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.”

The management of Sciences Po Paris, for its part, organized an internal debate on Thursday morning on the situation in the Middle East in response to last week’s mobilization of students, activists and supporters of the establishment’s Palestine committee.