Wednesday, May 29, 2024
WorldWorld News

Police move in to quell clashes at Los Angeles pro-Palestinian campus protest

Columbia President Minouche Shafik released a letter asking police to stay on campus until at least May 17 – two days after graduation – “to maintain order and ensure that encampments are not re-established”.

Students standing outside the hall – the site of various student occupations dating back to the 1960s – jeered at police with shouts of “Shame, shame!”.

Police were seen loading dozens of detainees onto a bus, with their hands bound behind their backs by zip-ties, the scene illuminated with the flashing red and blue lights of police vehicles.

“Free, free, free Palestine!” protesters chanted outside the building.

Others yelled: “Let the students go!”

Sueda Polat of Columbia University Apartheid Divest, the coalition of student groups that organised the protests, said they did not pose a danger and urged police to back down.

PROTESTERS ACCUSED OF VANDALISM AND TRESPASS

In her letter, Shafik said the Hamilton Hall occupiers had vandalised university property and were trespassing.

The university earlier warned that students taking part in the occupation faced academic expulsion.

A few hours before police entered Columbia, New York City Mayor Eric Adams and city police officials said the Hamilton Hall takeover had been instigated by “outside agitators” unaffiliated with Columbia.

One student protest leader, Mahmoud Khalil, a Palestinian scholar attending Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, disputed assertions that outsiders led the occupation.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators also gathered at City College New York in Harlem late on Tuesday, with the university ordering individuals off the campus and asking police to assist, New York Police Department Deputy Commissioner Kaz Daughtry said.

Dozens of protesters were arrested, the New York Times reported.