News - November 26, 2019

Hunger strike is over; more actions underway (video)

Luuk Zegers

The four WUR-students that went on a hunger strike for a week to demand climate action have started eating again. ‘There were times when I really thought I was going to break fast. But then you remind yourself why you’re in it and you carry on.’

Anni Schlüter and Malik Dasoo of Extinction Rebellion Wageningen. © Luuk Zegers

The hunger strike was part of a worldwide action initiated by climate action group Extinction Rebellion. Four WUR-students stopped eating food from Monday 18 November until Monday 25 November. ‘It was difficult’, says master student International Land and Water Management Malik Dasoo (24). ‘But I think it was an important action for us. This is not just a movement that only seeks to disrupt. There are many kinds of protest. You can show sacrifice, and try to get people to listen in that way.’ 

Bachelor student Environmental Sciences Anni Schlüter (21) lost seven kilograms during the hunger strike. ‘The last few days I could only think about food. I literally couldn’t sleep because of it. And my energy level was low. I crawled up the stairs.’ Also Dasoo felt his body becoming weaker. ‘In class you feel quite slow and confused. Just a general inability to function like a normal human being.’

The students are still waiting for an official response from the university. ‘We definitely want to talk to them’, says Dasoo. ‘But I have the feeling that negotiations do not really get us anywhere.’ So Extinction Rebellion is planning more actions, like blocking the Mansholtlaan roundabout on this Friday morning, November 29, between 7:30 and 9:30.

‘We’ve gotten a lot of sympathy from many people at this university. Academics, a lot of students have reached out to us. But still the people who take the decisions don’t take us seriously enough. How do you disrupt the university? You stop their teaching. We’re hoping that if we get enough support from academics that we can organize them to walk out of university and refuse to teach for a day. That is the next step at least in my mind. We don’t stop until they reach our demands.’

WUR's press officer Simon Vink said that the university will talk with the students in January.

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