Police arrest protesters at Columbia University who had set up pro-Palestinian encampment

New York police have removed a pro-Palestinian protest encampment at Columbia University on and arrested dozens of people

Via AP news wire
Thursday 18 April 2024 22:31 BST

New York police removed a pro-Palestinian protest encampment at Columbia University on Thursday and arrested dozens of protesters.

Several students involved in the protest said they were also suspended from Columbia and Barnard College, including Isra Hirsi, who is the daughter of U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.

Police did not immediately identify those taken into custody or say how many arrests were made.

The congresswoman, at a hearing on Wednesday, had questioned Columbia's president, Nemat Shafik, about the school’s targeting of pro-Palestinian protesters.

The students had been protesting on campus since early Wednesday, demanding the school divest from companies they claim “profit from Israeli apartheid” and the Israeli military action in Gaza.

Shafik issued a statement saying the school had warned protesters on Wednesday that they would be suspended if the encampment was not removed. School officials made the decision Thursday to call in police and clear out the demonstrators.

“The individuals who established the encampment violated a long list of rules and policies,” she wrote.

Shafik also said the university tried through several channels "to engage with their concerns and offered to continue discussions if they agreed to disperse.”

The school said it was still identifying students involved in the protest Thursday and added more suspensions would be forthcoming.

Police moved in early Thursday afternoon using zip ties to arrest protesters and escort them to waiting buses before removing the tents.

They could not say how many people had been arrested or any charges they might face.

Pro-Palestinian protesters reorganized on campus a short time later, chanting, “Shame”

“We demand full amnesty for all students disciplined for their involvement in the encampment or the movement for Palestinian liberation,” the protest coalition said in a statement.

A voicemail message was left with Omar’s office on Thursday afternoon seeking comment.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in