Columbia protesters occupy building, smashing windows; worker: ‘They held me hostage’

Protesters at Columbia University have barricaded themselves inside an academic building on the upper Manhattan school’s campus, breaking windows and allegedly holding workers there hostage before releasing them, the Columbia Spectator student newspaper reports.

Doors to Hamilton Hall are shut and blocked with tables, chairs, metal barricades and other objects or are shuttered with locks, zip ties or ropes by dozens of protesters who broke into the building, the paper reports. Dozens more protesters rally outside, forming a human chain to block the doors and chanting “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and “Palestine will live forever.”

Videos from the scene show also show a person in a black hoodie smashing several windows, and then padlocking a door after several people exit, including a person wearing keffiyeh and someone with a placard identifying them as a journalist.

The Spectator reports that one facilities worker left the building at 12:40 a.m. after yelling to be released, telling the crowd that he was “held hostage” as he leaves. Three other workers leave some 30 minutes later after the barricades blocking one door are removed.

A Palestinian Flag and a banner reading Hind’s Hall, referring to slain 6-year-old Gazan girl Hind Rajab, are unfurled out of windows of the building.

Hamilton Hall was occupied by students protesting the Vietnam War in 1968 and again by anti-apartheid activists in 1985, according to Wikipedia.

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