Police Arrest Protesters, Clear Occupied Building At Columbia University

The police are now arresting and dispersing protesters who have camped on the grounds of the Ivy League school for over two weeks.

Police Arrest Protesters, Clear Occupied Building At Columbia University

Over 50 protesters have been detained so far, news agency Reuters said.

Scores of New York police officers entered Columbia University's campus on Wednesday, a day after pro-Palestine student protesters barricaded and occupied a building inside the campus.

Here Are 10 Points On US University Protests

  1. Police officers, in tactical gear and helmets, marched into the campus and climbed up to the second floor of Hamilton Hall from a truck. On Tuesday, the protesters occupied Hamilton Hall and unfurled a banner reading "Hind's Hall," to pay tribute to a 6-year-old Palestinian child killed by the Israeli military.

  2. Officers have begun clearing the occupied building and arrested several protesters. Over 50 protesters have been detained so far, news agency Reuters said. 

  3. The action comes after dozens of university campuses across the US have seen large-scale protests against Israel's war in Gaza. The demonstrations have also led to arrests of students who have vowed to continue their protest despite threats of expulsion from university administrations.

  4. Hours before the police entered the campus, New York Mayor Eric Adams said the takeover of Hamilton Hall was instigated by "outside agitators" who have turned "peaceful protests into a violent spectacle". "We cannot wait until this situation becomes even more serious. This must end now," he said.

  5. In a letter, Columbia University president Minouche Shafik asked for New York police's help to clear all individuals from Hamilton Hall and all campus encampments. She also asked the police to remain on campus till May 17, "to ensure encampments are not reestablished."

  6. The White House had criticized the storming of Hamilton Hall calling it the "the wrong approach." "We certainly respect the right of peaceful protests. We absolutely condemn the anti-Semitism language that we've heard of late and certainly condemn all the hate speech and the threats of violence out there," National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.

  7. Talks between the protesting students and university administration have failed after Columbia University rejected their demand that the elite school divest all financial holdings linked to Israel. 

  8. The university has also claimed several Jewish students had fled the campus due to demonstrators' "anti-Semitic actions". Protest organisers, however, have denied accusations of anti-Semitism, arguing that their protest is against the actions of the Israeli government.

  9. "Disruptions on campus have created a threatening environment for many of our Jewish students and faculty and a noisy distraction that interferes with the teaching, learning, and preparing for final exams," the university said in a statement.

  10. UN human rights chief Volker Turk has also raised concern over the use of police to disperse campus protests. "Freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly are fundamental to society. Incitement to violence or hatred on grounds of identity or viewpoints -- whether real or assumed -- must be strongly repudiated," he said

  11. The devastating war in Gaza began after Hamas operatives launched an attack on Israel on October 7 that left around 1,170 people dead. In retaliation, Israel has killed at least 34,535 people in Gaza, mostly women and children.

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