Univ. Amsterdam protesters set statue on fire, two held
At least two students protesting the University of Amsterdam were arrested Friday evening after the Lieverdje statue in the Spui was set on fire. Demonstrating students and supportive lectures were gathered to commemorate their month-long occupation of university buildings.
"We were protesting in the Spui just like in the sixties, and just like the sixties someone set the statue on fire," a student demonstrator told NL Times. "Two policemen in street clothes grabbed two students and took then away," he alleged.
"They didn't do anything wrong. It was a symbolic gesture. There was no damage to the statue," the student said.
He and as many as a hundred others then moved the protest to the police station near Amsterdam's Beursplein. People gathered outside beat on drums and cymbals while blowing kazoos and singing chants.
They want to make as much noise as possible so the police know how strongly opposed to the arrests the protesters are, the student said.
One month ago, occupiers took over the Bungehuis, home to the humanities faculty. The department is the focus of deep cuts by the university in the near future.
The protesters have stuck to their demands since day one, calling for the board to resign, a more democratized system including board member elections, and referenda on joint research projects with other Amsterdam institutes. They also want an end to the humanities department cuts, and more research funding, as well as a cancellation to the proposed 50 million euro sale of the Bungehuis.
Last week, the university board sent a ten point plan where they hoped to find compromise with the occupiers. It was at least the fourth proposal the board sent since the occupations began.