New York police enter Columbia University, arrest protesters occupying campus building

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NEW YORK: Pro-Palestinian protesters at Columbia University were arrested by New York Police Department (NYPD) officials, as they entered the premises on Tuesday night, according to The New York Times, escalating the tensions further that have gripped the varsities across the US currently.

The arrests took place hours after protesters had caught hold of a campus building. The protesters had stormed and occupied a building on Columbia University’s main campus overnight, flying a Palestinian flag from Hamilton Hall.

The officers burst through a second-floor window to enter Hamilton Hall, then led demonstrators in zip ties into law enforcement buses parked near campus. In a statement, the university stated that the facility had been “vandalised and blockaded”, leaving the administration with “no choice” except to summon police to campus for the second time in less than two weeks.

According to the New York Times, the student protesters were taken by NYPD (New York Police Department) officers off Columbia University’s campus, one by one, and their hands were tied at the back with zip ties. Students were seen, chanting ‘Free, free Palestine’ as they walked out, as per NYT.

A cluster of police officers, continue to remain at the university campus, especially outside the entrance of Hamilton Hall, the report said.

The NYPD cops arrived at Columbia University just after 9 pm (local time) on Tuesday and began dispersing the encampment. Special police teams used a big vehicle and a ramp to enter Hamilton Hall through a window, where the demonstrators flew a massive Palestinian flag in place of the US flag on Monday.

Majorly, Columbia University, which has turned into the epicentre of protests, at least 200 students barricaded the University’s entrance to Hamilton Hall. Hamilton Hall is one of the buildings occupied during 1968 student protests erupted over institutional apparatus supporting the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War.

The university, according to NBC News has notably asked the NYPD to remain on campus until at least May 17, two days after the scheduled graduation, according to NBC News.

Earlier, students at Columbia had voted to defy the order to vacate the encampment, which has been a focal point of pro-Palestinian protests on campus.

The action to suspend students at Columbia University comes amid a wave of arrests and tensions at universities across the United States, with demonstrations in support of Palestinians drawing attention and, in some cases, police intervention.

While these recent arrests have garnered significant attention, colleges across the US have been employing law enforcement measures, along with academic penalties such as suspensions and, in some cases, expulsion, to manage student protests since Hamas’ October attack on Israel, which resulted in over 1,200 deaths and numerous hostages. (ANI)

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