Sat. May 18th, 2024

UCLA, Columbia protests reach tipping point with 300 arrested in New York

Jamie Roberts By Jamie Roberts May12,2024

Violence erupted between police and student protesters Tuesday night and Wednesday morning at Columbia University and the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), with hundreds arrested in New York.

The New York Police Department went through a second story window at a Columbia building that had been seized by demonstrators and cleared out the protesters, with video of the arrests quickly going viral on social media.

New York Mayor Eric Adams’s office (D) said Wednesday that around 300 individuals were arrested.  

“After the University learned overnight that Hamilton Hall had been occupied, vandalized, and blockaded, we were left with no choice,” a school spokesperson said in a statement. “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 spokesperson added that the University believes those who took over the building were not affiliated with the school.

While other schools with protests have seen many arrested on campus with no affiliation to their institutions, Columbia has had their campus closed to people without IDs for about two weeks.  

Meanwhile, on the opposite coast, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) entered UCLA’s campus to crack down on pro-Palestinian protesters after they were called over skirmishes between the encampment and pro-Israel counter-demonstrators.

“The violence unfolding this evening at UCLA is absolutely abhorrent and inexcusable. LAPD has arrived on campus,” Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass (D) posted on X before 5 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Violence began at the protest before 11 p.m. Tuesday night after the counter-protesters attempted to forcibly dismantle the pro-Palestinian encampment, local station KTLA reported. KTLA is owned by Nexstar Media Group, which also owns The Hill.

It is not known how many were injured in the process.

The police presence and arrests have been denounced as dangerous by progressives, who point to other schools that have found ways to come to a deal with activists.  

“If any kid is hurt tonight, responsibility will fall on the mayor and univ presidents. Other leaders and schools have found a safe, de-escalatory path,” Rep. Alexandria Ocacio Cortez (D-N.Y.) on the social media platform X. “This is the opposite of leadership and endangers public safety. A nightmare in the making. I urge the Mayor to reverse course.” 

Northwestern University and Brown University were both able to strike deals with protesters this week to have their encampments taken down peacefully. At Brown, the exchange means the board will take a vote on whether to divest from Israel in the fall.  

Republicans, despite their calls for campus leadership to get the protests under control, are blasting schools including Columbia for last night’s scene. 

“Amid the absolute chaos at Columbia University, Joe Biden is absent because he is afraid to face the issue,” Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) posted on X with a video of the police raid.  

Jamie Roberts

By Jamie Roberts

Jamie is an award-winning investigative journalist with a focus on uncovering corruption and advocating for social justice. With over a decade of experience in the field, Jamie's work has been instrumental in bringing about positive change in various communities.

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2 thoughts on “UCLA, Columbia protests reach tipping point with 300 arrested in New York”
  1. It’s disheartening to see the clashes escalate to this level. Both sides need to find common ground and engage in peaceful dialogue to address their differences.

  2. Were there any injuries reported during the clashes at Columbia University and UCLA?

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