Columbia University building occupied by student protesters

Student protesters at Columbia University have occupied a building near the campus’s South Lawn following the university’s decision to suspend students who refused to vacate a pro-Palestinian encampment on campus grounds, as reported by The Washington Post.

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The protesters expressed their determination through an Instagram post, stating that they have decided to take matters into their own hands. They announced their intention to stay in Hamilton Hall until Columbia University decides to divest financially from Israel. However, Columbia’s president, Minouche Shafik, made it clear in a statement on Monday that the university has no plans to divest from Israel.

Protesters at Columbia’s Manhattan campus were captured on video locking arms in front of Hamilton Hall early Tuesday. The footage also showed them carrying furniture and metal barricades towards the building. (Source: AP)

Columbia University officials have restricted campus entry to only students and essential employees, as reported by The Associated Press.

In an update on Tuesday morning, the college’s public safety team announced that the sole access point is now located at 116th Street and Amsterdam Gate.

The update stated that the access restriction would continue until the situation permits otherwise.

According to the BBC, a student characterized the campus as a place of “lawless, utter anarchy.” Reports reveal that protesters resorted to breaking windows in order to gain entry, later barricading the doors with furniture.

According to Time, students erupted in cheers as they unfurled flags, one of which read “Gaza Calls, Columbia Falls,” from the windows of the occupied building.

People were encouraged on Instagram to safeguard the encampment and unite with protesters at Hamilton Hall.

Protesters have asserted that a group acting autonomously has seized control of the building, renaming it “Hind Hall” to pay tribute to Hind Rajab, a 6-year-old girl who tragically lost her life in Gaza earlier this year, as reported by The New York Times.

According to the AP, WKCR-FM, the student radio station, provided a live broadcast of the hall’s takeover. The university had imposed a 2 p.m. deadline for the protesters to vacate the encampment comprising approximately 120 tents, with the consequence of facing suspension.

School authorities issued a directive to the students, instructing them to dismantle the encampment that had been set up the previous week. Additionally, they cautioned against the establishment of any further encampments on the school premises.

Around 3 a.m. on Tuesday, a total of 17 tents were set up on Lewisohn Lawn, located outside Lewisohn Hall. This area is in close proximity to Hamilton Hall, the building that has been occupied by the students.

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