Pro-Palestinian protests continue at Columbia University after dozens of NYPD arrests

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Saturday, April 20, 2024
Pro-Palestinian protests continue at Columbia University after dozens of NYPD arrests
Anthony Carlo has more on the pro-Palestinian protests at Columbia University and the dozens of NYPD arrests.

MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS, Manhattan (WABC) -- Pro-Palestinian demonstrators continued their protests both on and off the Columbia University campus one day after more than 100 of them were arrested by the NYPD.

NewsCopter 7 was over Columbia's South Lawn early Friday morning where about 100 protesters spent the night camped out.

A solidarity "March for Divestment" took place Friday afternoon several blocks from the university campus. Organizers were calling on supporters to stand with the students.

The Gaza Solidarity Encampment on the Columbia campus never ended after Thursday's arrests, as some students merely moved to another lawn when police moved in on the South Lawn.

They say they have every right to be there and express their feelings.

"We are very disturbed that the university has chosen to call the police on its own students in order to support its bottom line instead of the actual wishes of the community, of the country who are increasingly calling for an end to the genocide in Palestine," one demonstrator said.

Anthony Carlo reports on the protests at Columbia University, and spoke to several student demonstrators about the tense situation.

Outside the school's gates Friday, protestors chanted into the night, flanked by police in riot gear.

It all came after five more protesters were arrested overnight, bringing the total to 113.

The new arrests were outside the main gates, for disorderly conduct and blocking vehicular traffic.

Most of the arrests have been for trespassing and disorderly conduct. Two people were arrested for obstruction of governmental administration.

Plenty of students have been walking by observing what's going on.

Eyewitness News reporter Janice Yu talked to some Jewish students who say this has not only been a disruption to their learning but has been difficult to witness.

"It's really scary. It's scary because I don't know what their intention is, if it's actually to help people because it just feels very aggressive. If their true intention was to help Palestinians, yeah, but the rhetoric that they've been using and this type of demonstration is really disruptive," one student said.

"I'm just really shocked that this is what things have come to and there's so much hatred," said a Columbia student named Naomi. "I'm trying to understand where it's coming from. Is it social media or at the end of the day antisemitism?"

Students are now being required to scan their school IDs to gain entrance to the campus.

A university spokesperson released this statement Friday morning:

"While the encampment has been dismantled, our community has had protest activity on campus since October, and we expect that activity to continue. We have rules regarding the time, place, and manner that apply to protest activity, and we will continue to enforce those. We remain in regular contact with our students and student groups and are committed to ensuring the core functions of the University continue."

Columbia says the tents and other items that were seized Thursday were being stored and students could retrieve them after 1 p.m. Friday.

Thursday's demonstration coincided with testimony on Capitol Hill by Columbia's president about the school's handling of an alleged antisemitic environment.

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