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Columbia University threatens to suspend pro-Palestinian protesters who occupy building, smash windows

Pro-Palestinian protesters were seen smashing windows at Columbia University early on Tuesday morning as the school began to suspend students for refusing to dismantle tents set up on the New York campus.

Edited By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Columbia Updated on: April 30, 2024 23:36 IST
Image Source : AP "Free Palestine" posters at a college in Columbia

Pro-Palestinian activists occupied a building at Columbia University early on Tuesday (April 30), escalating a battle with administrators who have begun suspending students for refusing to dismantle tents set up on the New York campus. 

Columbia University to face expulsion

The school promised they would face expulsion. The occupation at Columbia — where protesters shrugged off an ultimatum to abandon a tent encampment Monday or be suspended — unfolded as other universities stepped up efforts to clear out encampments. Police swept through some campuses, spurring confrontations with protesters and plenty of arrests. In rarer instances, university officials and protest leaders have struck agreements to restrict the disruption to campus life.

VIDEO: Protestors put a banner reading "Hind's Hall" from an upper floor 

Protesters entered Hamilton Hall - the site of student protests dating back to the 1960s - and suspended a banner reading "Hind's Hall" from an upper floor. Others outside blocked the doors with outdoor tables and linked arms to form a barricade in front. "This building is liberated in honour of Hind, a six-year-old Palestinian child murdered in Gaza by the Israeli occupation forces funded by Columbia University," a protester shouted from inside.

Israel has denied targeting civilians in its war on Hamas in Gaza, accusing the militants of hiding among them. Some three hours after students entered the Columbia building, the school sent out a notice saying that effective immediately access to the campus has been limited to students residing in residential buildings on campus and employees providing essential services.

Anti-Israel protest at US universities

The building occupation at Columbia is at the centre of Gaza-related protests roiling university campuses across the US in recent weeks.

On Monday, Columbia University began suspending pro-Palestinian student activists who refused to dismantle the protest camp on the campus after the Ivy League school declared a stalemate in talks seeking to end the demonstration.

University President Nemat Minouche Shafik said in a statement that days of negotiations between student organizers and academic leaders had failed to persuade demonstrators to remove the dozens of tents set up to express opposition to Israel's war in Gaza.

Protesters on the Manhattan campus are demanding that Columbia meet three demands: divestment in Israel, transparency in university finances, and amnesty for students and faculty disciplined for their part in the protests.

Shafik this week said Columbia would not divest from finances in Israel. Instead, she offered to invest in health and education in Gaza and make Columbia's direct investment holdings more transparent.

(With inputs from agency)

Also Read: 'Stopping war is out of question': Netanyahu vows to attack Rafah with or without hostage deal 



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