After Sciences-Po, a student “uprising” throughout France?

After Sciences Po a student uprising throughout France

After an initial blockage at Sciences Po Paris, a nationwide student conflagration cannot be ruled out. While the Minister of Higher Education tries to temper, the LFI deputies say they support the movement.

Candidate for the European elections on the list of La France Insoumise, Rima Hassan persists and signs. She says she accepts the term “uprising”, this morning on France Info, regarding the blockade of the Sciences Po Paris campus. “I am referring to the definition of Larousse. It is ‘a collective and massive movement’. I invite students to mobilize” she clarified.

Three days earlier, on X (formerly Twitter), the Franco-Palestinian activist had invited the French to join the Sciences Po students who were blocking the campus in support of the Palestinians. “I am calling for mobilization, not only in universities, throughout France” she continued this Monday morning on the public service channel. So, is it possible to imagine a student “uprising” throughout France?

LFI will “support” possible new blockages

Friday April 26, during the blockage at Sciences Po, Rima Hassan encouraged the Inter Sciences Po Committee – which brings together all the Institutes of Political Studies in France and all the universities in France – to mobilize. At the same time, the Reims campus was also blocked. Premises which could constitute a real signal for the executive. Furthermore, the Student Union was quick to call, the next day, Saturday, “at Sciences Po, as everywhere in France, to rise up against repression and for peace in Gaza.”

In the political sphere, the deputies of La France Insoumise echoed the Student Union. LFI will “support” new blockages for the head of LFI deputies Mathilde Panot. The coordinator of the Insoumis, Manuel Bompard, hoped this Monday morning on Public Senate that the mobilizations for Gaza “grow in scale in the universities”. The message is therefore unanimous, to encourage blockades to show support for Gaza.

“The debate yes. The blockage, no”

For the Minister of Higher Education Sylvie Retailleau, Sciences Po wants to “set up a debate” after “the distressing spectacle” of last Friday. Perhaps she is referring to the University’s desire to organize a “townhall”. In other words, a debate in which all questions can be asked. This expression imported from the United States also means that discussions concerning the publishers’ demands can be held. In fact, a meeting is planned for Monday, April 29 to try to outline the contours of a constructive and peaceful discussion.

“We will try to recreate with controversy, a real academic debate” declared the minister. “The debate yes. The blocking, no, and above all the escalation, no” she however blurted out. A declaration that follows in the footsteps of the government’s latest communication on the subject of last Friday’s excesses, assuring that “red lines had been crossed”. Proof that the discussions could prove to be more delicate than expected, dissensions are being felt within the majority itself. “I am extremely embarrassed by what looks like a capitulation, a submission to a minority of students who prevent others from learning” conceded the spokesperson for the Renaissance group at the National Assembly on Friday evening and MP for Macronie, Maud Brégeon. If a university conflagration at the national level cannot be ruled out, the political class appears more divided than ever, and the subject also seems to pose a problem in the ranks of the majority.

A first blockage at Sciences Po Paris

As a reminder, on the night of Thursday April 25 to Friday April 26, students took possession of Sciences Po Paris to protest against the bombings in Gaza. The day before, a first blockade of the establishment had ended after an intervention by the police at the request of management. Resupplied using shopping bags hoisted at arm’s length, the students intended to stay on site until they won their case. If a delegation of mobilized students had been received by the school management, they did not intend to lift the fence until the latter had responded on several points. Among them, the abandonment of possible sanctions against all students involved in the mobilization.

The movement, copied from that currently taking place within American universities such as New York, Yale or Columbia, took a new turn in the middle of the afternoon on Friday. Around fifty pro-Israel demonstrators had in fact gathered, some masked, in front of the premises of the prestigious Parisian school, chanting several demands, including “Liberate Sciences Po” or “Liberate Gaza from Hamas”. An arrival frowned upon by the pro-Palestinian students already present there, leading to a stampede between supporters of each camp.