Over 100 arrested at Columbia University as police move in on pro-Palestinian protesters

Over 100 arrests at Columbia University pro-Palestinian protests

Over 100 arrests at Columbia University pro-Palestinian protests


NEW YORK — Police arrested more than 100 people at Columbia University on Thursday at a makeshift encampment set up by pro-Palestinian protesters on the university’s main lawn. 

It was the second day of demonstrations on and off Columbia’s campus in Upper Manhattan after student’s set up the unsanctioned encampment. 

Police were monitoring activities near campus for most of the day and made arrests before confronting students at the tents.

NYPD officers in riot gear started walking to 114th Street and Broadway, where they closed the street for seven correctional buses, at around 12:30 p.m. Officers then removed students from the encampment. 

“We were walking around different parts of campus to occupy that space and demand that our voices be heard,” said Natan Rosenbaum, a sophomore at Columbia. “And when I showed up, everybody had already been arrested.” 

“One by one, these cops got each of the encampment protesters sitting down and standing up and put them in zip ties and walked them,” another student said. “It’s a very difficult time for a lot of people. I think it’s unfortunate that it’s come down to this.” 

Students were detained on the buses before being taken to the precinct. So far, no one has been charged with a crime, NYPD said. 

In a letter, Columbia University President Minouche Shafik asked the NYPD to move in, writing “I have determined that the encampment and related disruptions pose a clear and present danger to the substantial functioning of the University.” 

“With great regret, we request the NYPD’s help to remove these individuals,” she wrote.

Shafik said all university students participating in the encampment are being suspended. 

“I regret that all of these attempts to resolve the situation were rejected by the students involved. As a result, NYPD officers are now on campus and the process of clearing the encampment is underway,” Shafik wrote in the statement to the Columbia community

The students were warned to leave the encampment by 9 p.m. Wednesday, Shafik wrote. 

“Columbia is committed to allowing members of our community to engage in political expression – within established rules and with respect for the safety of all,” Shafik wrote. 

Rep. Ilhan Omar’s daughter suspended

Barnard College suspended three students, including Isra Hirsi, the daughter of Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, for participating in the protests. Hirsi said on social media she and others at the encampment would continue protesting until their demands are met. 

Demonstrations started on Wednesday before administrators locked down campus amid dueling protests between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel groups. Police said one person was arrested. 

A protester is taken into custody during dueling demonstrations between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel supporters outside of Columbia University in Manhattan on April 18, 2024


Protests intensified Thursday morning and more arrests were made as small pro-Palestinian demonstrations took place outside Columbia’s campus gates.

Some demonstrators expressed discontent with how police handled the situation.

“There was no point of ever working with the police. Like every single step of the way, they were escalating it,” a protester named Selena said.

 According to protesters, police started detaining them for blocking the entrance to the subway, which they said was not the case.

“Not allowing us to exercise any of our rights,” Selena said.

Protests continue after Columbia’s president testifies

Demonstrations began when Shafik testified Wednesday on Capitol Hill, where she was accused of failing to discipline students for antisemitic rhetoric

“Columbia has shown over and over they don’t care about students’ rights, voices or safety,” said Aidan Parisi, a pro-Palestinian protester.

“I’m scared to wear a Jewish star here. I’ve gotten very nasty antisemitic comments at me and I don’t understand how this is accepted,” Kim Silverman said.

The vast majority of Thursday morning’s protesters were not Columbia students.


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