NYPD arrest protesters at Columbia University who set up pro-Palestinian encampment on campus

NEW YORK — New York police arrest protesters at Columbia University who had set up a pro-Palestinian encampment on campus.

Several students involved in the protest say they were also suspended from Columbia and Barnard College, including Isra Hirsi, the daughter of US Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat. The congresswoman had questioned Columbia’s president, Nemat Shafik, about the school’s targeting of pro-Palestinian protesters at a hearing yesterday.

Protest organizers say Hirsi also was among those arrested.

The students have been protesting on campus since yesterday morning, demanding the school divest from companies they claim “profit from Israeli apartheid” and Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza.

Shafik issues a statement saying the school had warned protesters yesterday that they would be suspended if the encampment was not removed. School officials made the decision today to call in police and clear out the demonstrators.

“The individuals who established the encampment violated a long list of rules and policies,” she writes. “Through direct conversations and in writing, the university provided multiple notices of these violations, including a written warning at 7:15 p.m. on Wednesday notifying students who remained in the encampment as of 9:00 p.m. that they would face suspension pending investigation.”

Shafik also says the university tried through several channels “to engage with their concerns and offered to continue discussions if they agreed to disperse.”

Protest organizers decry the university’s actions.

“We demand full amnesty for all students disciplined for their involvement in the encampment or the movement for Palestinian liberation,” Rosy Fitzgerald, a spokesperson for the Institute for Middle East Understanding, says in a statement.

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