Occupiers cleared out of Amsterdam Univ. building; 30 students arrested

P.C. Hoofthuis, Amsterdam
P.C. Hoofthuis, AmsterdamPhoto: Vysotsky / Wikimedia Commons

The police cleared protesting students out of the University of Amsterdam's P.C. Hoofdhuis building on Friday evening. A total of 30 students were arrested for trespassing - they were not allowed inside the building. All of them were released from custody again on Saturday evening, NU.nl reports.

The students, calling themselves Autonomous University Postcolonial House, occupied the building on Spuistraat on Friday morning. They were protesting against shortcomings in education. According to the students, the government and University of Amsterdam do too little to increase diversity and the level of education, and to decrease workload. 

At around 4:40 p.m. on Friday, Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema went to speak with the protesting students. She asked them to leave in a friendly, but urgent manner, according to the newspaper. If they refused, the police would start evicting them, she said. "You say you want to talk. Do it then. You can not break into a building and keep it occupied", Halsema said. 

At 5:05 p.m. the police started forming lines and moving towards the entrances of the occupied building. In front of and behind the building, dozens of people were sitting arm-in-arm on the sidewalk to hinder the eviction. But they dispersed a short time later. The police went into the building and started clearing out the occupiers, arresting multiple students.

A few students managed to hide inside the building, and weren't found by the riot police when they searched the building or by security when they went to check for damages. According to the newspaper, the group left the building themselves through an emergency exit at around 2:30 a.m. on Saturday. A security guard managed to stop one of the students, who was arrested when the called police arrived. The rest of the group managed to get away.

By Saturday evening, all 30 arrested students were released from custody. 28 of them will appear in court in November. The other two reached a settlement with the Public Prosecutor and will not have to appear in court.

Whether the students did any damage to the P.C. Hoofdhuis building is not yet clear.