NYPD Violently Arrests Anti-War Student Protestors at Columbia University

New York Police Department (NYPD) officers arrested dozens of protesters at Columbia University after they smashed windows and broke into a campus facility, demanding the university divest from any companies that trade with the Israeli government. Students took control of Hamilton Hall, which they renamed Hind Hall after a child killed in the ongoing Middle East conflict, and insisted they would not leave until the college met their demands. They also threatened to disrupt an upcoming graduation ceremony. University officials called NYPD to contain the situation, leading to dramatic scenes.

Officers arrived just before 9 pm and proceeded to pry open a second-floor window and enter the building. Police said they used flash bangs and tear gas to disorientate the demonstrators, who had employed soda machines and furniture to block entrances. After making several arrests and clearing the building, officers dismantled encampments established by students several days earlier.

University President Minouche Shafik, who is under pressure to resign after a Congressional grilling on campus antisemitism, called on NYPD to clear the hall, saying she had been “left with no choice.” In a letter to Deputy Commissioner Michael Gerber, Shafik said one student hid in the hall until it closed for the day and subsequently opened its doors to invite others in. She added that two security guards were in the building at the time, but “we were able to secure their release.”

The University President declared that officials had given the protestors ample opportunity to leave the premises peacefully, but she was forced to take drastic action amid property destruction and vandalism. Ms. Shafik described the situation as “escalating.”

The incident was among several increasingly hostile demonstrations taking place across American universities as anti-Israel protestors demand divestment from the Jewish state, which they accuse of committing genocide against Palestinian civilians.

The University of Southern California announced it was canceling graduation ceremonies amid safety concerns, while several other schools have witnessed clashes between students and police.