Police on Friday entered the Sciences Po university in Paris to remove dozens of students staging a pro-Gaza sit-in in the entrance hall, AFP journalists saw, as protests fire political debate about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

One student, who identified himself as a representative of the Palestine Committee named Hicham, said university authorities had given the group 20 minutes to leave before the forcible evacuation because of "exams to be held from Monday".

"The chief of police deployed law enforcement to evacuate the Sciences Po site... 91 people were removed without incident," the Paris police headquarters said.

Bastien, 22, told AFP he and other protesters had been peacefully brought out in groups of 10 by officers.

But another student, Lucas, working towards a master's degree, said "some were dragged and others gripped by the head or shoulders".

Administrators had closed Sciences Po's main buildings on Friday in response to the sit-in and called for remote classes instead.

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal's office said such protests would be dealt with using "total rigour", adding that 23 university sites had been "evacuated" on Thursday.

Some students were still at the end of the blocked street after the building was cleared, chanting "we're still here, even if Sciences Po doesn't want us" and "long live the Palestinian people's struggle".

- 'Disappointing' -

Sciences Po, widely considered France's top political science school, with alumni including President Emmanuel Macron, has seen student action at its sites across the country in protest against the war in Gaza and the ensuing humanitarian crisis.

Protests have been slow to spread to other prominent universities, unlike in the United States -- where demonstrations at around 40 facilities have at times spiralled into clashes with police and mass arrests.

Demonstrations have so far been more peaceful in France, home to the largest Jewish population outside Israel and the US, and to Europe's largest Muslim community.

The University of California, Los Angeles, announced that Friday's classes would be held remotely after police cleared a protest camp there and arrested more than 200 people.

Sciences Po administration took the same step for its Paris student body of between 5,000 and 6,000.

Protesters had occupied the entrance hall in a "peaceful sit-in" following a debate on the Middle East with administrators on Thursday morning that their Palestine Committee dubbed "disappointing".

The university's interim administrator, Jean Basseres, refused student demands to "investigate" Science Po's ties with Israeli institutions.

- 'Not true you can't talk' -

The war in Gaza began after Palestinian militant group Hamas launched an attack on Israel on October 7 that resulted in the deaths of 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Israel estimates that 129 hostages seized by militants during their attack remain in Gaza. The Israeli military says it believes 34 of them are dead.

Israel's relentless retaliatory offensive on Gaza has killed at least 34,596 people in the Palestinian territory, mostly women and children, according to the besieged enclave's Hamas-run health ministry.

Outside the Sorbonne University, a few hundred metres (yards) from Sciences Po in central Paris, members of the Union of Jewish Students in France (UEJF) set up a "dialogue table" on Friday.

"We want to prove that it's not true that you can't talk about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," UEJF president Samuel Lejoyeux told broadcaster Radio J.

"To do that, we have to sideline those who single out Jewish students as complicit in genocide," he added.

Police also removed students from the Institute for Political Studies (IEP) in Lyon.

And in the northeastern city of Lille, the ESJ journalism school was blocked off, an AFP reporter saw.

Around 100 students had occupied a lecture hall at Science Po's Lyon branch late on Thursday.

Law enforcement on Friday removed a dozen students who were blocking the entrance to a university site in Saint-Etienne, near Lyon, for the second day running.