Pro-Palestinian protesters take over building at US university


Pro-Palestinian protesters took over a university building in the US – the latest escalation of demonstrations at college campuses against the Israel-Hamas war.

The demonstrators barricaded the entrance of the building at Columbia University in New York on Tuesday and unfurled a Palestinian flag out of a window.

Video footage showed protesters on the Manhattan campus locking arms in front of Hamilton Hall and carrying furniture and metal barricades to the building.

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Protesters block the entrance of Hamilton Hall at Columbia University. Pic: AP
Protesters block the entrance of Hamilton Hall at Columbia University. Pic: AP

Demonstrators block the entrance of Hamilton Hall. Pic: AP
Pic: AP

A group called Columbia University Apartheid Divest (CUAD) said Hamilton Hall was now called “Hind’s Hall” in honour of Hind Rajab, a six-year-old girl killed in a strike on Gaza in February.

The student radio station broadcast a play-by-play of the hall’s takeover, which occurred nearly 12 hours after a deadline for the protesters to leave an encampment of around 120 tents or face suspension.

Protesters unfurled a flag with the words 'Hind's Hall'. Pic: Reuters
Protesters unfurled a flag with the words ‘Hind’s Hall’. Pic: Reuters

Columbia student radio members work outside Hamilton Hall, after protesters barricaded themselves inside the building at Columbia University.
Pic: Reuters
Protesters at Hamilton Hall. Pic: Reuters

Demonstrators said they planned to remain at the hall until the university conceded to the CUAD’s three demands: divestment, financial transparency and amnesty.

One protester, a 22-year-old student who did not wish to be named, told Sky News she has relatives in Gaza and she will “not stop attending protests until the war ends and (Columbia University) agrees to divest”.

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Israel-Hamas war divides US universities

“We have Jewish, Christian, Muslim people of faith and people of no faith standing with me, holding my hands in solidarity with the injustice that is happening in Palestine,” she said.

“If we have to be here all day we will, we need peace and we need justice. They are threatening to suspend us but we are standing up for human rights.”

Read more:
Why are university students protesting in the US?
Eyewitness report: Nuance is lost at university campus protests

Dozens of people were arrested on Monday during protests at universities in Texas, Utah, Virginia and New Jersey, while Columbia said hours before the takeover of Hamilton Hall that it had started suspending students.

Police moved to clear an encampment at Yale University in Connecticut on Tuesday morning, but there were no immediate reports of arrests.

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The campus protests began as a response by some students to Israel’s offensive in Gaza after Hamas launched a deadly attack on southern Israel on 7 October.

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