Pro-Palestinian protest at the Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj, Romania

Pro-Palestinian students of the Babeş-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca and the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca occupied the courtyard of the Faculty of Sociology and Social Work in Cluj-Napoca on Friday afternoon, May 24. They camped indefinitely and handed over a list of demands to the heads of higher education institutions.

The leaders of the „Students for Palestine in Cluj” organisation, who handed the list of demands to university leaders, demanded immediate action to end cooperation with companies affiliated with or profiting from the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), reports the

Students say universities cannot remain indifferent in a situation where human rights are being violated. They recall that, according to the preliminary ruling of the International Court of Justice of January 26, 2024, all states and public institutions are obliged to take measures to ensure that Israel complies with the Court’s ruling and immediately ends the genocide in the Gaza Strip.

The protesters criticise the lack of action by universities. They stress the need for the institutions to take a firm stand for justice and to contribute to the prevention of genocide, and point out that, according to official figures, there are at least 35,000 civilian deaths so far as a result of the occupation of Gaza.

The students demanded that universities show solidarity with the Palestinian people and support Palestinian students and academics. The students are committed to peaceful protest and want to raise awareness of their demands and the plight of the Palestinian people by occupying the university courtyard.

The demands include the demilitarisation of universities: immediate termination of the cooperation between the University of Technology and the US company Lockheed Martin, which they claim contributes to the genocide in the Gaza Strip.

They also call for the boycott of genocide and illegal occupation: ending cooperation with companies which cooperate with the IDF or are involved in the development of illegal settlements in Palestine. Students are also demanding that BBTE break all forms of academic partnerships with Israeli universities that are an integral part of the Israeli military regime and which support the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories.

Students express solidarity with all Palestinian teachers and students and call for the support of these individuals. They claim that universities should act in line with their commitment to support the international academic community and to promote and protect academic freedom.

Universities should join the call on the EU to stop funding research projects that violate international law, particularly grants to Israeli institutions, and ask universities to ensure that all research projects and collaborations they support align with international law and human rights. They also demand that universities support the termination of EU research funds linked to projects that violate international law, especially Israeli institutions, which receive substantial EU funding.

A similar action to occupy the university has been taking place for days in Bucharest. Around fifty students camped in the garden next to the Faculty of Psychology building of the University of Bucharest. After meeting with the institution’s leaders, they said they would continue the demonstration.


Photo credit: Inquam Photos / Saul Pop