Protestors Forcefully Removed from Hamilton Hall in Police Raid

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( – The New York Police Department forcibly removed protesters from an administrative building on the Columbia University campus late Tuesday night. Hamilton Hall had been occupied by anti-Israel activists since early Monday.

Officials at Columbia University asked the NYPD for assistance once peaceful protests escalated to law-breaking, threats, and violence. Video footage of the police action shows the officers, clad in riot gear, climbing in through upstairs windows. Officers moved furniture that had been used to barricade the doors and stairways and forced entry into locked rooms. No tear gas was used during the raid but four “flash bang” devices were used as distractions to aid police. There were no injuries or occurrences of violence reported during the removal of protesters.

Once Hamilton Hall was cleared, police moved to clear an encampment on the campus lawn. Protesters set up the tents about two weeks ago and have refused multiple requests to disperse. The number of total arrests is presumed to be around 100 people although an exact count was not immediately available.

A letter from university officials was posted on X, defending the school’s decision to call the NYPD to assist in removing the activists. The letter addressed serious safety concerns that left school officials with no choice other than to ask for help. The letter also indicated that although students were involved in the occupation of Hamilton Hall, the invasion was led by “outside agitators” who are not affiliated with the university.

Dr. Minouche Shafik, Columbia University president, said the school is requesting NYPD maintain a presence on the campus until May 17th to ensure the upcoming commencement ceremonies are not disrupted. Shafik pointed out that many of this year’s university graduates were denied a formal high school graduation in 2020 due to pandemic restrictions and deserve to have their achievements honored.

Students are still demanding the university divest from Israel. Shafik confirmed in a letter on Monday that this demand will not be met.

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