Columbia University

Columbia University protesters smashed windows, upended furniture and caused damage throughout Hamilton Hall during the occupation before police stormed the campus and arrested more than 100 protestors Tuesday night.

Around 40 protesters were arrested on the first floor of the building after police swooped just after 9pm ending the pro-Palestine encampment that stretched on for nearly two weeks and included students taking over the hall. 

Pictures and video taken of the aftermath show the hall’s trashed interior strewn with activists’ belongings.

Columbia’s President Minouche Shafik called in the NYPD in to ‘restore order and safety’ to the campus amid the escalating protests, which also included a massive encampment on the school’s lawns.

The raid saw demonstrators arrested across the campus and at nearby City College New York, where similar protests unfolded.

Columbia University protesters smashed windows, upended furniture and caused damage throughout Hamilton Hall amid their brief occupation

Columbia University protesters smashed windows, upended furniture and caused damage throughout Hamilton Hall amid their brief occupation

Images and video showed extensive damage to Hamilton Hall after protesters were evicted on Tuesday night

Images and video showed extensive damage to Hamilton Hall after protesters were evicted on Tuesday night

NYPD riot cops released dramatic video showing the moment they stormed Columbia University's occupied Hamilton Hall

NYPD riot cops released dramatic video showing the moment they stormed Columbia University’s occupied Hamilton Hall

Images taken after the raid show the hall's trashed with activists' belongings

Images taken after the raid show the hall’s trashed with activists’ belongings

NYPD cops dressed in riot gear stormed through the window of a Columbia University building occupied by dozens of pro-Palestine protesters to begin clearing them out

NYPD cops dressed in riot gear stormed through the window of a Columbia University building occupied by dozens of pro-Palestine protesters to begin clearing them out

New York City police officers use a ramp on an armored vehicle to enter Hamilton Hall via a second-floor window at Columbia University after pro-Palestinian protestors barricaded themselves in the building

New York City police officers use a ramp on an armored vehicle to enter Hamilton Hall via a second-floor window at Columbia University after pro-Palestinian protestors barricaded themselves in the building

Police use a vehicle named 'the bear' to enter Hamilton Hall from a public street, which was occupied by protesters, as other officers enter the campus of Columbia University

Police use a vehicle named ‘the bear’ to enter Hamilton Hall from a public street, which was occupied by protesters, as other officers enter the campus of Columbia University

Police stormed Hamilton Hall through an upstairs window after students used furniture to barricade the entrance.

Pictures show how chairs and desks have been turned upside down to become makeshift barriers.  The cost of damage to the building is likely to total thousands of dollars.

The occupation followed weeks of unrest at Columbia, which began with the establishment of the encampment on April 17.

Protesters set up tents after Shafik was grilled before Congress about anti-Semitism on campus.

They repeatedly ignored calls to disband, with the demonstrations ramping up early Tuesday with the violent takeover of Hamilton Hall. 

After two weeks of chaos, which saw classes moved online and facilities shuttered, Shafik finally called in the police who managed to clear out the campus in just two hours.

University administrators have now asked the police to maintain a presence until May 17, two days after graduation. 

Damage to the historic Hamilton Hall is estimate to total thousands of dollars following its short-lived occupation

Damage to the historic Hamilton Hall is estimate to total thousands of dollars following its short-lived occupation

Video from the college showed hundreds of cops in riot gear and armed with zip-tie handcuffs and pepper spray surrounding the campus

Video from the college showed hundreds of cops in riot gear and armed with zip-tie handcuffs and pepper spray surrounding the campus

NYPD officers arrive in riot gear to evict a building that had been barricaded by pro-Palestinian student protesters at Columbia University

NYPD officers arrive in riot gear to evict a building that had been barricaded by pro-Palestinian student protesters at Columbia University

The NYPD announced that it had cleared the building just before 11pm with no injuries.

Hours earlier, video showed cops sporting riot gear descending on the campus armed with zip-tie handcuffs and pepper spray.

Until Tuesday, Shafik had held off asking police to intervene following backlash to the decision to use law enforcement to disperse a previous encampment.

However, the decision to call the NYPD was taken after the increasingly violent tactics and concerns the protest had been infiltrated by ‘outside agitators’ with no ties to the university.

In a statement, the university said the decision to call in police was, ‘made to restore safety and order to our community’. 

‘We regret that protesters have chosen to escalate the situation through their actions,’ the statement read.

‘After the University learned overnight that Hamilton Hall had been occupied, vandalized, and blockaded, we were left with no choice.

‘Columbia public safety personnel were forced out of the building, and a member of our facilities team was threatened. We will not risk the safety of our community or the potential for further escalation.’

The NYPD confirmed those occupying Hamilton Hall could be charged with trespass and burglary, while those in the encampment could be hit with trespassing and disorderly conduct charges. 

Windows were left shattered and furniture over turned as protesters used the office supplies to create makeshift barriers

Windows were left shattered and furniture over turned as protesters used the office supplies to create makeshift barriers

Members of the NYPD prepared to enter Columbia University campus after protestors took over Hamilton Hall overnight yesterday

Members of the NYPD prepared to enter Columbia University campus after protestors took over Hamilton Hall overnight yesterday

Cops swarmed on Hamilton Hall carrying riot shields as they swept through the building

Cops swarmed on Hamilton Hall carrying riot shields as they swept through the building

Members of the NYPD surround and breach Hamilton Hall where demonstrators barricaded themselves inside on the Columbia University campus on April 30, 2024 in New York City

Members of the NYPD surround and breach Hamilton Hall where demonstrators barricaded themselves inside on the Columbia University campus on April 30, 2024 in New York City

Protestors and students face off with the NYPD at Columbia University. SWAT MRAP approaches Hamilton hall

Protestors and students face off with the NYPD at Columbia University. SWAT MRAP approaches Hamilton hall

Police stormed the building where protestors had set up camp

Police stormed the building where protestors had set up camp

NYPD law enforcement officials stand by on closed streets surrounding Columbia University in a comprehensive operation to clear campus of students who barricaded themselves in a building on campus and established an encampment while protesting in support of Palestinians

NYPD law enforcement officials stand by on closed streets surrounding Columbia University in a comprehensive operation to clear campus of students who barricaded themselves in a building on campus and established an encampment while protesting in support of Palestinians

Cops were armed with zip ties and pepper spray as they stormed the campus at around 9.3-pm on Tuesday

Cops were armed with zip ties and pepper spray as they stormed the campus at around 9.3-pm on Tuesday

The police operation was concluded within around two hours of cops storming the campus

The police operation was concluded within around two hours of cops storming the campus

Protesters have been demanding the college divest from companies with links to Israel or firms profiting from its war on Hamas.

They have taken inspiration from previous student-led protests, such as the successful 1985 campaign to get the university to divest from South Africa ‘s apartheid regime.

Shafik has so far rejected calls for an Israeli divestment, but said the issue could be reviewed by the school’s Advisory Committee for Socially Responsible Investing.

However, the offer was deemed insufficient by the protesters and the demonstrations went ahead.

The clearing of the demonstrations is by no means the end of the problems being faced by the beleaguered Shafik.

Shortly after police began their raid, her own faculty released a statement condemning the decision and blaming her administration for allowing tensions to reach a boiling point.

Many Jewish students and their supporters are angry that it took so long for officials to crack down on the protests amid allegations of anti-Semitism.

The demonstrations also came at a time when many students were cramming for finals, causing maximum disruption. 

Pro-Palestinian supporters confront police during demonstrations

Pro-Palestinian supporters confront police during demonstrations

Columbia President Minouche Shafik called in the NYPD in to 'restore order and safety' to the campus amid the escalating protests which also included a massive encampment at the school

Columbia President Minouche Shafik called in the NYPD in to ‘restore order and safety’ to the campus amid the escalating protests which also included a massive encampment at the school

Officers with the New York Police Department raid the encampment by pro-Palestinian protesters at Columbia University on Tuesday

Officers with the New York Police Department raid the encampment by pro-Palestinian protesters at Columbia University on Tuesday

The NYPD had warned the protests has been co-opted by 'dangerous' external agitators

The NYPD had warned the protests has been co-opted by ‘dangerous’ external agitators

The decision to call in police was condemned by the Columbia University Chapter of the American Association of University Professors

The decision to call in police was condemned by the Columbia University Chapter of the American Association of University Professors

Demonstrators linked arms to protect their fellow protestors barricaded inside Hamilton Hall from authorities as members of the NYPD surround the Columbia University campus to clear the pro-Palestinian protest encampment on April 30

Demonstrators linked arms to protect their fellow protestors barricaded inside Hamilton Hall from authorities as members of the NYPD surround the Columbia University campus to clear the pro-Palestinian protest encampment on April 30

Dozens of helmeted police flooded Columbia University's campus in the heart of New York City on April 30 to evict a building occupied by pro-Palestinian student protesters and detain demonstrators

Dozens of helmeted police flooded Columbia University’s campus in the heart of New York City on April 30 to evict a building occupied by pro-Palestinian student protesters and detain demonstrators

Police were first called to Columbia on April 18 and made more than 100 arrests.

However, a new encampment soon sprouted up to replace it which remained for a further two weeks.  Similar demonstrations cropped at other universities across the country, which have also since been shut down.

At the same time police were flooding Columbia, they were also pouring onto another campus in the Big Apple.

Protesters threw flares and barricaded themselves inside an administrative building at the City University of New York, about 20 blocks north of Columbia University.

NYPD officers moved in after 9.30pm to disperse crowds outside as flares turned the college’s famous arch red and protestors chanted and waved flags in support of Gaza.

At a press conference before the raids, NYPD Assistant Commissioner Rebecca Weiner warned the protest had been co-opted by external agitators who were not affiliated with the university.

She stressed the occupation had the potential to spill into other campus buildings, as well as other universities across the country.

The request for police intervention came hours after activists stormed Hamilton Hall forcing the university to close its campus

The request for police intervention came hours after activists stormed Hamilton Hall forcing the university to close its campus

Footage taken from a stair well in Hamilton Hall shows offices rapidly working to remove chairs and other obstacles used by the students to barricade themselves in

Footage taken from a stair well in Hamilton Hall shows offices rapidly working to remove chairs and other obstacles used by the students to barricade themselves in

Members of the NYPD detain protesters from the pro-Palestinian protest encampment and Hamilton Hall

Members of the NYPD detain protesters from the pro-Palestinian protest encampment and Hamilton Hall

Police arrested nearly 100 people as they cleared the university of demonstrators who were issued a notice to disband their encampment after negotiations failed to come to a resolution

Police arrested nearly 100 people as they cleared the university of demonstrators who were issued a notice to disband their encampment after negotiations failed to come to a resolution

‘This is not about what’s happening overseas, it’s not about the last seven months, it’s about a very different commitment to at times violent protest activity as an occupation,’ she said.

‘They haven’t got a right to be on campus and this violates university polices and most importantly, presents a danger to students and the university and communities.

‘When we see what we saw last night, we think these tactics are a result of guidance being given to students from these external actors.’



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