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New York Police Enter Columbia University’s Hamilton Hall to End Student Occupation

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New York Police Enter Columbia University's Hamilton Hall to End Student Occupation

New York police took action at Columbia University’s Hamilton Hall to disperse a student-led occupation of the building late Tuesday. The university administration stated that they were left with “no choice” but to seek police intervention.

The Police Intervention

A team of officers entered the building through a second-story window using a mechanized drawbridge attached to a New York Police Department armored vehicle.

Background of the Occupation

Pro-Palestinian protesters took control of Hamilton Hall on Monday following the school’s request for them to disband their encampment voluntarily.

University’s Response

Columbia University confirmed on Tuesday that police arrived around 9 p.m. after President Minouche Shafik submitted a written request to the NYPD for assistance. The request aimed to remove all protesters from Hamilton Hall and other campus encampments.

The university spokesperson emphasized that the group occupying the building was not affiliated with the university. The decision to involve the NYPD came after productive discussions with representatives of the West Lawn encampment. The university clarified that their action was in response to the protesters’ behavior rather than their cause.

Police Presence and Arrests

Before entering Hamilton Hall, NYPD officers in riot gear and carrying zip tie handcuffs cordoned off sections of Broadway near the Columbia Morningside campus.

Reports surfaced of students being arrested and escorted onto buses outside Hamilton Hall. An NYPD bus was observed transporting protesters away from the scene.

Context of the Protests

These events reflect a broader trend of protests occurring on college campuses across the United States. Students are demanding that universities divest from companies associated with Israel due to the conflict in Gaza.

The Israel-Hamas conflict has resulted in casualties on both sides, with Palestinians bearing the brunt of the violence. Columbia University’s response indicates a growing tension between student activism and administrative control.

University Actions

Columbia has initiated disciplinary proceedings against students who refuse to vacate the premises, potentially leading to expulsion.

The university justified its actions by stating that the protesters had escalated the situation beyond reconciliation. While acknowledging students’ right to free speech, Columbia criticized the recent demonstrations for their disruptive nature.

Nationwide Protests

Similar protests have erupted on campuses across the United States, reflecting widespread solidarity with the Palestinian cause.

In Oregon, Portland State University shut down its campus after demonstrators occupied the university’s library. The district attorney’s office declared the actions as criminal, indicating a tough stance against the protests.

At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, police arrested demonstrators who refused to dismantle a Gaza solidarity camp on campus. The university administration issued warnings of arrest and expulsion.

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