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Mass arrests at New York Colleges over demonstrations on Palestine

New York City police executed the operation at Columbia University, where they entered Hamilton Hall, an academic facility that had been occupied by pro-Palestinian demonstrators
06:20 AM May 02, 2024 IST | GK NEWS SERVICE
mass arrests at new york colleges over demonstrations on palestine
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New Delhi, May 1: In a continuing operation spanning two prestigious New York college campuses, over 300 individuals were arrested amidst a wave of demonstrations, as confirmed by law enforcement authorities, and extensively covered by Western media outlets.

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New York City police executed the operation at Columbia University, where they entered Hamilton Hall, an academic facility that had been occupied by pro-Palestinian demonstrators.

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Media reported that police are setting up metal barricades and protesters are setting up wooden boards and protest signs. The intervention came after students declined to disperse following a deadline set by university officials, citing concerns over disruption to peaceful protests.

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Columbia University asserted that the occupation of Hamilton Hall, marked by vandalism and blockades, left them with no alternative course of action.For nearly two weeks, pro-Palestinian protesters had been maintaining a tent camp at the globally known Ivy League institution in upper Manhattan.

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The surge of protests in US universities is tied to demands for a boycott of entities and individuals with affiliations to Israel amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza.US President Biden emphasized the need for peaceful demonstrations, denouncing the forcible takeover of buildings as unacceptable.

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The majority of the arrests occurred at Columbia University and City College of New York, with Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez expressing concerns about potential harm to students. The situation at Columbia University escalated when demonstrators failed to adhere to the university president's directive to clear the encampment by Monday afternoon.

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Subsequently, protesters seized Hamilton Hall, renaming it Hind's Hall in honour of a six-year-old Palestinian girl killed in Gaza earlier in the year. Columbia University has emerged as a focal point, but similar protests have erupted at scattered universities across the United States, with varying responses from administrations.

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In addition, clashes between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel demonstrators have extended to campuses such as the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

This nationwide wave of rallies, marked by hundreds of arrests, reflects the ongoing struggle to contain escalating tensions fuelled by the conflict in Gaza. Similar demonstrations to the one seen at Columbia have sprung up across the country in dozens of universities and colleges.

Pro-Palestinian protesters have also gathered over the past week on university campuses in Australia, Canada, France, Italy, and the UK.

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