New York Police Raid Columbia University, Arrest Dozens of Pro-Palestinian Protesters

New York police raid Columbia University, arresting dozens of pro-Palestinian protesters over Gaza conflict. Highlights tensions between free speech and campus safety.

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Israel Ojoko
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New York Police Raid Columbia University, Arrest Dozens of Pro-Palestinian Protesters

New York Police Raid Columbia University, Arrest Dozens of Pro-Palestinian Protesters

New York City police raided Columbia University on Tuesday night, arresting dozens of pro-Palestinian protesters who had occupied Hamilton Hall and set up a protest encampment on campus for nearly two weeks. The protesters were demonstrating against Israel's war in Gaza.

Over 100 NYPD officers, some in riot gear and carrying zip ties and riot shields, stormed the university building and arrested the protesters. Columbia University had requested the police's assistance, stating that the protesters had vandalized and blockaded the building, forcing out campus security personnel.

The university said the decision to call in the police was in response to the protesters' actions, not the cause they were championing. "The building occupation, encampments, and related disruptions posed a clear and present danger that required the use of emergency authority to protect persons and property," said Columbia University President Minouche Shafik.

The protesters, part of a nationwide campus protest movement against Israel's war in Gaza, had been seeking divestment from companies supporting Israel's government, greater transparency in university finances, and amnesty for students and faculty disciplined over the protests. They had earlier renamed Hamilton Hall "Hind's Hall" after a Palestinian child killed in Gaza.

Why this matters: The police raid at Columbia University represents a significant escalation in the response to pro-Palestinian protests on college campuses across the country. It highlights the tension between students' First Amendment rights and the need to maintain safety and order on campus, as the Israel-Gaza conflict continues to be a flashpoint issue.

The police action was criticized by some faculty and politicians, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who accused the university and mayor of endangering public safety. The AAUP chapter at Columbia also denounced the police presence, warning of potential violence. Similar protests and police actions have occurred at universities across the U.S., with over 1,000 arrests reported in the past two weeks.

Key Takeaways

  • NYPD raided Columbia University, arresting dozens of pro-Palestinian protesters.
  • Protesters occupied Hamilton Hall, seeking divestment from companies supporting Israel.
  • Columbia University requested police assistance, citing building vandalism and blockades.
  • The raid represents an escalation in response to pro-Palestinian campus protests.
  • Similar protests and police actions have occurred at universities across the U.S.