Campus raid on pro-Palestinian protesters


Dozens of pro-Palestinian protesters were arrested Tuesday evening during a massive police raid at Columbia University in New York after occupying a building on campus.

Slogans against the Gaza war were painted on the walls of Hamilton Hall in Manhattan.

Hundreds of officers from the New York Police Department (NYPD) were finally deployed to the university on Tuesday evening, where officers gained access to Hamilton Hall through a second-floor window and escorted one by one handcuffed protester out of the building.

Students standing outside the hall shouted at the police. “Free, free, Palestine!” and “Shame on you” some shouted.

Dozens of protesters, all handcuffed with cable ties, were finally loaded into buses and driven away.

A tent camp that protesters had set up on campus about two weeks ago was also removed during the raid.

The pro-Palestinian group Columbia University Apartheid Divest claims police officers “violently invaded” the campus and accuses them of “brutally attacking” protesters.

Columbia, an Ivy League university that was once home to the student movement against the Vietnam War in the late 1960s, has been the epicenter of anger over Israel’s war on Gaza for the past two weeks.

The protesters are demanding that Columbia stop all funding to Israel.

However, Minouche Shafik, president of Columbia, said in a letter to the police that the hall was occupied by “individuals not connected to the university”.

She asked the police to stay on campus until at least 17 May to ensure that no more tent camps are set up.

By Wednesday, US police officers were scrambling to quell similar protests at dozens of universities across the United States. These include campuses in Texas, California, Georgia, North Carolina, Utah, Virginia, New Mexico, California, New Jersey, Connecticut and Louisiana.

At the University of California in Los Angeles, pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian protesters clashed today after school administrators removed a tent camp on that campus.

More than 1,000 protesters were arrested at this stage.