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Over 100 Arrested in New York's Columbia University Crackdown as Pro-Palestinian Protests Grip US University Campuses

Columbia University has emerged as a focal point, but similar protests have erupted at scattered universities in the United States.
10:46 AM May 01, 2024 IST | SURINDER SINGH OBEROI
over 100 arrested in new york s columbia university crackdown as pro palestinian protests grip us university campuses
Screengrab from a video. For Representation Source: NBCL
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New Delhi, May 1, 2024: Over 100 individuals were apprehended in a widespread demonstration across two prominent New York college campuses, as confirmed by law enforcement authorities and reported widely by Western media.

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New York City police executed a large-scale operation at Columbia University, entering Hamilton Hall, an academic facility that had been occupied by pro-Palestinian demonstrators.

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The intervention came after students declined to disperse following a deadline set by university officials. 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.

This 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.
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.

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The situation at Columbia University escalated when demonstrators failed to adhere to the university president's directive to clear the encampment by Monday afternoon. 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.

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Columbia University has emerged as a focal point, but similar protests have erupted at scattered universities in the United States.

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In addition, in some places, the clashes between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel demonstrators have also 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 the escalating tensions fuelled by the conflict in Gaza.

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Beyond the US, the protests have crossed borders into Canada. Activists in both countries are advocating for a ceasefire and urging their universities to sever financial ties with Israel, citing complicity in the ongoing conflict. Amidst these demonstrations, authorities are grappling with allegations of antisemitism, heightening concerns about the safety of Jewish students on campus.

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