NYPD Arrests Dozens as Pro-Palestinian Protesters Occupy Columbia University Building

NYPD storms Columbia University, arresting dozens of pro-Palestinian protesters demanding divestment from Israel. Highlights escalating campus tensions over the Israel-Gaza conflict.

author-image
Aqsa Younas Rana
New Update
NYPD Arrests Dozens as Pro-Palestinian Protesters Occupy Columbia University Building

NYPD Arrests Dozens as Pro-Palestinian Protesters Occupy Columbia University Building

On Tuesday night, the New York Police Department (NYPD) stormed the campus of Columbia University, arresting dozens of pro-Palestinian student protesters who had barricaded themselves inside Hamilton Hall, a central administration building. The protesters, part of a weeks-long encampment on campus grounds, were demonstrating against Israel's military operation in Gaza and demanding the university divest from companies supporting the Israeli government.

Hundreds of NYPD officers, some in tactical gear, entered the campus after Columbia University president Minouche Shafik requested police assistance to remove the protesters, citing safety concerns and disruption to campus life. Police used a tactical vehicle to ram through a second-story window of Hamilton Hall, which had been occupied and blockaded by protesters. Officers in riot gear then entered the building, taking around 100 protesters into custody.

Videos from the scene showed protesters being led out of the building in zip ties and loaded onto NYPD buses. A large crowd of demonstrators gathered outside the police cordon surrounding the building. The NYPD stated they used flashbangs to secure the perimeter, but denied deploying tear gas. Columbia defended the decision to call in the NYPD, saying they had no choice after protesters vandalized and blockaded the building.

Why this matters: The forceful police response at Columbia University highlights the escalating tensions and nationwide protests at college campuses over the Israel-Gaza conflict. The protests have sparked debates about free speech, public safety, and the role of universities in political activism.

The occupation of Hamilton Hall was the latest escalation in pro-Palestinian protests that have swept across U.S. college campuses in recent weeks, leading to over 1,000 arrests nationwide. Demonstrators are calling on universities to divest endowment funds from companies that do business with Israel's government. Similar protests have occurred at schools including Cornell University, New York University, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Columbia had previously suspended students who defied a deadline to vacate the protest encampment on campus. University officials claimed the protests created a "hostile environment" for Jewish students. In a statement, Columbia said the protesters "chose to escalate an untenable situation" and that administrators had "no choice but to request police intervention" after protesters breached and occupied Hamilton Hall.

Key Takeaways

  • NYPD stormed Columbia University, arresting dozens of pro-Palestinian protesters.
  • Protesters were demonstrating against Israel's military operation in Gaza and demanding divestment.
  • Police used a tactical vehicle to enter the occupied building, leading to around 100 arrests.
  • The incident highlights escalating tensions over the Israel-Gaza conflict on college campuses.
  • Columbia had previously suspended students for the protest encampment, citing a "hostile environment".