College anti-war protests: Columbia restricts campus access for students, essential workers

NEW YORK (AP) — Dozens of protesters took over a building at Columbia University in New York early Tuesday, blocking entrances and hoisting a Palestinian flag outside a window. Demonstrations against the Israel-Hamas war It spread to college campuses across the country.

Protesters on Columbia's Manhattan campus locked arms in front of Hamilton Hall early Tuesday morning, carrying furniture and metal barricades to the building, one of many. That was occupied During the 1968 protests against civil rights and the Vietnam War, video footage was shown. Posts on the Instagram page for protest organizers after midnight urged people to protect the camp and join them at Hamilton Hall. A “Free Palestine” banner hung from one window.

A pro-Palestinian protester shouts “Free Palestine” as he is handcuffed by University of Texas at Austin police on campus, Monday, April 29, 2024, in Austin, Texas. (Aaron E. Martinez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

“Hinds Hall, formerly known as 'Hamilton Hall', was restored in honor of an autonomous group. Hind RajbA martyr killed at the hands of the genocidal Israeli state at the age of six,” CU Apartheid Divest posted on the social media site at X on Tuesday morning.

Hamilton Hall is an academic building that opened in 1907 and is named after Alexander Hamilton, who attended Columbia's original name, King's College.

Student Radio Station, WKCR-FM, Drama by Drama showed the takeover of the arena nearly 12 hours after the 2pm deadline on Monday, when the demonstrators faced about 120 tents or a standoff.

University representatives did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment Tuesday, but the Department of Public Safety said in a statement that access to the campus was limited to students living in residence buildings and essential staff such as food, public safety and maintenance staff. There was only one access point in and out of the campus.

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“The safety of every member of this community is paramount,” the advisory said.

What do you need to know about student protests?

In the X Post, the protesters said they plan to remain in the hall until the university accepts three demands: divestment, financial transparency and amnesty.

Universities across the country are grappling with how to remove encampments as commencement ceremonies approach, with some continuing negotiations and others turning to force and ultimatums, leading to clashes with police. On many campuses, including Columbia, things seemed to be coming to a head.

At California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt, where protesters occupied two buildings, dozens of police officers carrying helmets and batons marched onto the campus early Tuesday and cleared both halls. The university said 25 people were arrested and there were no injuries. The beginning of the sweep was broadcast on the Facebook page of KRCR-TV's satellite KAEF-TV until police arrested the reporter.

Pro-Palestinian protesters continue to occupy the grounds of the University of California, Los Angeles in front of Royce Hall, Monday, April 29, 2024, in Los Angeles.  Security has cordoned off the camp after clashes broke out on Sunday between pro-Palestinian protesters and pro-Israel protesters.  (Orange County Register via David Crane/AP)

Pro-Palestinian protesters continue to occupy the grounds of the University of California, Los Angeles in front of Royce Hall, Monday, April 29, 2024, in Los Angeles. (Orange County Register via David Crane/AP)

The university had earlier announced a “strict lockdown”, meaning people were not allowed to enter or remain on campus without authorization. At 3:24 am, the university's website posted a shelter-in-place order for the campus.

Yale officials cleared the protesters' encampment Tuesday morning after students heeded ultimatums to leave, university officials said. No arrests reported. Demonstrators said on social media that they were moving their gathering to a sidewalk area. The encampment was set up on Sunday, six days after police arrested nearly 50 people, including 44 students, and removed dozens of tents.

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Dozens of people were arrested Monday during protests at universities in Texas, Utah, Virginia and New Jersey, while Columbia said it began suspending students hours before the Hamilton Hall takeover. At the University of Texas at Austin, 79 people were jailed for Monday's protest, according to the Travis County Sheriff's Department, most charged with criminal trespassing.

A small group of students at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon, barged into the university's library late Monday, drawing sharp reprimands from city officials and the district attorney. The downtown campus was shut down on Tuesday as protesters staged a mostly peaceful protest over the library occupation.

State troopers arrest a pro-Palestinian protester at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas, Monday, April 29, 2024.  (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

State troopers arrest a pro-Palestinian protester at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas, Monday, April 29, 2024. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

A state trooper pepper sprays protesters at a pro-Palestinian demonstration at the University of Texas, Texas, Monday, April 29, 2024.  (AP via Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman)

A state trooper pepper sprays protesters at a pro-Palestinian demonstration at the University of Texas, Texas, Monday, April 29, 2024. (AP via Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman)

On Tuesday, police cleared the encampment at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and detained about 30 people. At the University of Connecticut, police made arrests Tuesday morning after protesters defied orders to remove tents.

After Hamas launched a deadly attack on southern Israel on October 7, nationwide campus protests began as some students responded to Israel's attack on Gaza. Militants killed about 1,200 people, most of them civilians, and took about 250 hostages. Israel, which has vowed to eradicate Hamas, has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, according to the local health ministry.

Israel and its supporters have branded the university protests anti-Semitic, while Israel's critics say they use such accusations to silence opponents. Although some protesters were caught on camera making anti-Semitic comments or threatening violence, organizers of the protest, some of whom are Jewish, say it is a peaceful movement aimed at defending Palestinian rights and opposing the war.

as Armistice negotiations Appearing to gain steam Tuesday, it's unclear whether those talks will encourage campus protesters to ease their efforts.

The plight of the arrested protestors The central part of the struggle With students and a growing number of teachers demanding amnesty for protesters. At issue are whether suspensions and legal records will follow students through their adult lives.

Texas resistance and others, including in Canada and Europe, grew Early demonstrations in Colombia. On Monday, the student activists defied the 2 pm deadline to vacate the camp. Instead, there were hundreds of protesters. A few counter-demonstrators waved Israeli flags, and one shouted, “Where are the anti-Hamas slogans?” They had a sign saying.

Although the university did not call police to disperse the protesters, school spokesman Ben Chang said suspensions had begun but could provide few details. Protest organizers said they were unaware of any suspensions as of Monday evening.

At the University of Utah, police dragged students by their arms and legs, sawed down poles that held up tents, and zip-tied those who refused to disperse. At Princeton University, students were arrested after briefly occupying a building that houses its graduate school.

In a rare move, Northwestern University said it had reached an agreement with students and faculty representing the majority of protesters at its campus near Chicago. It allows peaceful demonstrations at the end of spring classes in exchange for certain concessions.

At the University of Southern California, organizers of a major encampment sat down with university president Carol Fold for about 90 minutes Monday. Folt declined to discuss specifics, but said negotiations would continue on Tuesday.

USC officials refused to allow the valedictorian, who has publicly supported the Palestinians, to give a commencement speech this month. Administrators later canceled a keynote speech by filmmaker and alumnus John M. Choo and refused to award honorary degrees.

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Mattis reported from Nashville, Tennessee. Associated Press journalists from around the country contributed to this report, including Karen Mathews, Jim Vertuno, Hannah Schoenbaum, Sarah Brumfield, Stefanie Dazio, Christopher Weber, Carolyn Thompson, Dave Collins, Makiya Seminera and Corey Williams.

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This story has been corrected to show that Columbia University has not canceled its major graduation event.

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