Anti-Israel protesters removed from Columbia building, ending stand-off

“We were left with no choice,” says Columbia after police arrest anti-Israel students occupying campus building.

By World Israel News Staff

New York City police removed between 30 and 40 people who were occupying a building on the campus of Columbia University, ending a 12-hour stand off after administrators ordered the anti-Israel demonstrators to leave the premises.

The stand-off lasted for approximately one day, before police forcibly removed the protesters. Columbia administrators said they had given those occupying the building multiple opportunities to leave peacefully, lest they face suspension or expulsion, but they refused to do so.

“After the University learned overnight that Hamilton Hall had been occupied, vandalized, and blockaded, we were left with no choice,” Columbia said in a media statement regarding the decision to call the police.

The statement added that Columbia staff inside the building had been “threatened” and forced out.

Police in riot gear were seen climbing through the building’s windows late Tuesday night. There were no reports of clashes between police and protesters, though dozens appeared to have been arrested for trespassing and vandalism, and were subsequently detained by the authorities.

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, anti-Israel protesters broke into the campus’ Hamilton Hall, marking an escalation in the demonstrations that have roiled the university for weeks.

Videos of the entry to the building showed the demonstrators smashing windows and doors with hammers in order to gain entry, then unfurling a massive banner renaming the building “Hind’s Hall,” after a Gazan girl who was reportedly killed by the IDF.

The circumstances of the girl’s slaying are still under investigation.

In previous weeks, anti-Israel demonstrators set up a large, chaotic tent encampment, blocking entrance to structures on campus and harassing Jewish and Israeli students and staff.

The disruption to life at the school caused by the protest encampment led Columbia to transition to remote learning and bar all but essential workers and those living in dorms from the campus.

“The work of the university cannot be endlessly interrupted by protesters who violate the rules. Continuing to do so will be met with clear consequences,” Columbia spokesperson Ben Chang said in a media statement.