Cops enter Columbia University, arrest protesters


According to reports, the student protesters were taken by NYPD officers off Columbia University’s campus, one by one, and their hands were tied at the back with zip ties…reports Asian Lite News

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 as they walked out, “Free, free Palestine,” 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.

Republicans launch probe into funding for universities  

Meanwhile, House Republicans on Tuesday announced an investigation into the federal funding for universities where students have protested the Israel-Hamas war, broadening a campaign that has placed heavy scrutiny on how presidents at the nation’s most prestigious colleges have dealt with reports of antisemitism on campus.

Several House committees will be tasked with a wide probe that ultimately threatens to withhold federal research grants and other government support to the universities, placing another pressure point on campus administrators who are struggling to manage pro-Palestinian encampments, allegations of discrimination against Jewish students and questions of how they are integrating free speech and campus safety.

The House investigation follows several recent high-profile hearings that precipitated the resignations of presidents at Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania. And House Republicans promised more scrutiny, saying they were calling on the administrators of Yale, UCLA and the University of Michigan to testify next month.

“We will not allow antisemitism to thrive on campus, and we will hold these universities accountable for their failure to protect Jewish students on campus,” said House Speaker Mike Johnson at a news conference.

Nationwide, campus protesters have called for their institutions to cut financial ties to Israel and decried how thousands of civilians in Gaza have been killed by Israel following the deadly attack by Hamas on Oct. 7.

Some organizers have called for Hamas to violently seize Israeli territory and derided Zionism. Jewish students, meanwhile, have reported being targeted and say campus administrators have not done enough to protect them.

After Johnson visited Columbia last week with several other top House Republicans, he said “the anti-Jewish hatred was appalling.”

Republicans are also turning to the issue at a time when election season is fully underway and leadership needs a cause that unites them and divides Democrats. The House GOP’s impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden has fallen flat and the Republican conference is smarting after a series of important bills left GOP lawmakers deeply divided. Democrats have feuded internally at times over the Israel-Hamas war and how campus administrators have handled the protests.

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