More than 200 pro-Palestinian protesters hold rally at Columbia University

Numerous people were taken into police custody

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Saturday, February 3, 2024
More than 200 pro-Palestinian protesters hold rally at Columbia
Darla Miles and Shanon Sohn have team coverage.

MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS, Manhattan (WABC) -- Numerous people were taken into custody after hundreds of protesters held a rally at Columbia University on Friday afternoon in support of Palestinians in Gaza.

Police said 15 people were taken into custody. Of those, 14 were given summonses and one was arrested.

"I think it's really important for all of us to say that genocide is not acceptable," said Columbia Creative Writing Professor Nadia Owusu.

The rally -- organized by six pro-Palestinian organizations, including the national chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine -- was scheduled to coincide with the official inauguration ceremony of Barnard President Laura Rosenbury.

The protest was also being held in response to an apparent chemical spray attack on at least six students at a protest a few weeks ago.

Two men are being sought for questioning in that incident. No charges have been filed.

"People have family in Gaza and their families are being killed and under attack and it's really difficult to study and be in an educational situation when you're afraid for your families' lives," Owusu said.

College campus protests began about a month after the war broke out leaving Jewish students feeling threatened and pro-Palestinian students feeling voiceless.

It hit a fever pitch in December with three Ivy League presidents called to Capitol Hill to testify. Two later resigned.

"As a teacher at Columbia, I think it's really important to be out here with my students who have connections in Palestine and in Gaza, and show the university that it's something the university should care about," Owusu said.

PREVIOUS | Jewish students say Columbia isn't doing enough to keep them safe amid Israel-Hamas war

Lauren Glassberg has more on the calls for action at Columbia University.


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