100+ protesters arrested at pro-Palestinian encampment at Columbia University: mayor

100+ protesters arrested at pro-Palestinian encampment at Columbia University: mayor
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MANHATTAN, N.Y. (PIX11) – Police arrested more than 100 protesters Thursday afternoon while clearing out a pro-Palestinian encampment set up at Columbia University, Mayor Eric Adams said.

At least 108 people were issued summonses for trespass, according to NYPD officials. Police used zip ties to arrest protesters and escort them to waiting buses before removing the tents.

“The students who were arrested were peaceful, offered no resistance whatsoever and were saying what they wanted to say in a peaceful manner,” NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell said.

Chell added that some of the roughly 500 other students who “left their classrooms” and “surrounded the quad” were verbally harassing the NYPD officers. Citizen App video showed a large crowd gathered around the area where the protest took place.

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Protesters occupied the South Lawn of Columbia’s Morningside Heights campus for more than 30 hours, according to Adams.

Protests began Wednesday morning, with hundreds of students pitching tents on campus, when Columbia University leadership faced Congress during a hearing about antisemitism, according to the Columbia Daily Spectator.

The students are demanding the school divest from companies they claim “profit from Israeli apartheid” and the Israeli military action in Gaza.

Columbia University President Nemat Shafik said Thursday that she authorized the NYPD to clear the encampment of protesters from the South Lawn.

“I took this extraordinary step because these are extraordinary circumstances. The individuals who established the encampment violated a long list of rules and policies,” Shafik said in a statement.

Shafik said Columbia warned the protesters on Wednesday that they would be suspended if they didn’t remove the encampment. She also said the university tried through several channels “to engage with their concerns and offered to continue discussions if they agreed to disperse.”

Protest organizers decried the university’s actions.

“We demand full amnesty for all students disciplined for their involvement in the encampment or the movement for Palestinian liberation,” Rosy Fitzgerald, a spokesperson for the Institute for Middle East Understanding, said in a statement.

Finn Hoogensen is a digital journalist who has covered local news for more than five years. He has been with PIX11 News since 2022. See more of his work here.

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