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Gunfire at Columbia University Amid Police Crackdown on Pro-Palestinian Protests

Daniel Kim Views  

AFP/Yonhap News

Amid over 2000 arrests due to pro-Palestinian protests across universities in the United States, AP reported on May 2nd (local time) that police fired a gun while suppressing a protest at Columbia University.

The office of Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan District Attorney in New York, announced that the police fired a gun inside Hamilton Hall on Columbia University’s campus, which the protesters had been occupying since the night of April 30th.

There were no injuries from the gunfire, and an investigation is underway. The City first reported the gunfire, and the prosecutor’s office did not release any additional information related to the incident.

At the time, the pro-Palestinian protesters had been occupying Hamilton Hall for over 20 hours. The police entered the building through a second-floor window and reported that the protesters did not resist. Over 100 students were arrested during the suppression of the protest.

Columbia University faculty criticized the school’s administration for requesting the police to suppress the protest, calling it a “horrible police attack on our students.”

A similar situation occurred at UCLA. AP reported that hundreds of police officers equipped with riot gear poured into the UCLA campus in the morning. When hundreds of protesters refused to stop their sit-in, the police fired flashbangs into the crowd. Some protesters formed a human chain to block the police. At least 200 protesters were reportedly arrested.

The students participating in the anti-war protests are calling for universities to cease transactions with companies that support Israel or the war in Gaza.

On the same day, police entered the library at Portland State University, where protesters held a sit-in and suppressed the protest. In New Hampshire, police arrested about 100 University of New Hampshire protesters. Protests were also arrested or voluntarily disbanded at the City University of New York, the University of Buffalo, Northern Arizona University, and Tulane University.

AP pointed out that the continued warnings from authorities to the pro-Palestinian protesters contrasted with the scene where anti-protesters attacked the pro-Palestinian camp on the night of April 30th. At that time, the university administration and police did not intervene or request support for several hours. There were no arrests, and at least 15 people were injured. California Governor Newsom and others publicly criticized the delayed response to prevent the clashes.

The pro-Israel side is branding the protests as anti-Semitic, while the pro-Palestinian side refutes this, arguing that it’s a way to muzzle their anti-war stance.

President Joe Biden criticized the recent disorder while advocating for the students’ right to peaceful protest. California Republican representatives claimed that the demonstrations were escalating into illegality and violence.

Reports compare these anti-war protests to the anti-Vietnam War protests of the 1960s. Robert Costard, an emeritus professor of public policy at Duke University who protested against the Vietnam War in the 1960s, emphasizes that the students are protesting against a violent war, just as they did in the past.

He mentioned examples such as the nationwide protests that occurred in 2020 after the death of George Floyd, a black man, due to excessive police force, pointing out that students are feeling the prevalent conflicts. He said, “I’m thinking about what motivates these young people and what they’ve been thinking as they’ve grown up in their short lives.”

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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