Barriers to remain on Harmonie square until everything is cleaned up

Although the pro-Palestinian encampment is gone, the UG remains vigilant after last week’s occupation. As the university cleans up the final remnants, a new demonstration has been announced for Tuesday.

The Harmonie square is still closed to the public five days after the municipality and police ended the encampment. Although the square was cleared and cleaned last Wednesday evening and again on Thursday with a power-washer, barriers are still in place as of Monday.

Passersby speculate about the reason. Does the university want to prevent a new encampment from being set up? Or is it preparing for the demonstration announced for Tuesday? The demonstrators plan to walk out at 12 p.m. and gather half an hour later in front of the Academy building to protest against what they call ‘police violence on university property’.

Not finished yet

No, says UG spokesperson Anja Hulshof. ‘It has to do with cleaning the square. We’re not finished yet, and it’s more convenient to clean without anyone walking across the square.’

Of course, the UG remains vigilant when it comes to demonstrations, Hulshof says. But that is not the reason the barriers are still in place. No decision has been made yet about other measures, such as closing buildings early during Tuesday afternoon’s demonstration. ‘We remain alert and will keep an eye on things.’

More mess than damage

The UG building at the Oude Boteringestraat, which was occupied last Wednesday, reopened on Monday. According to Hulshof, it took around two days to clean the building. ‘There wasn’t extensive damage like we’ve seen at other universities. It was more mess than damage.’

For example, furniture was stacked to block doors, a refrigerator was knocked over, and papers were scattered everywhere. ‘We needed some time to clean all that up.’

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