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Police set up cordon around Columbia University in NY amid Pro-Palestine protests


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New York: The New York City Police Department (NYPD) has set up cordons two blocks away from Columbia University, where students opposing Israel’s operation in the Gaza Strip have barricaded themselves in, a Sputnik correspondent has reported.

Media reported late Tuesday that the police have already entered the territory of the university.

Meanwhile, the police set up a cordon at the intersection of Broadway and 113th Street a couple of blocks from the university and are preventing young people from reaching their friends at the university, the correspondent reported on Tuesday.

Police officers wearing helmets and armed with batons and plastic zip-tie handcuffs were deployed to the area and set up an iron barricade, the correspondent reported, adding that there have been no clashes so far.

People who gathered around the fence were shouting “Viva viva Palestina.”

In the meantime, the Columbia University Chapter of the American Association of University Professors said in a release that the NYPD “is massing on barricaded streets outside the gates of Columbia University” and “endangers our entire community.”

“NYPD presence in our neighborhood endangers our entire community. Armed police entering our campus places students and everyone else on campus at risk. That is why University statutes require consultation with faculty – statutes which appear to have been ignored since April 17, and again tonight. We hold University leadership responsible for the disastrous lapses of judgment that have gotten us to this point. The University President, her senior staff, and the Board of Trustees will bear responsibility for any injuries that may occur during any police action on our campus,” the release read.

The statement said “Columbia faculty have spent the day offering our help to defuse the situation on Columbia’s campus and have been rebuffed or ignored,” adding that it has been “locked out of our campus and have demanded to be allowed back in, and have been rebuffed or ignored.” The statement further said “Columbia faculty have attempted for the past two weeks to intervene in the situation, only to be shut out by senior University leadership.”

Numerous pro-Palestine demonstrations have emerged on US college campuses in recent days against the US military, financial and diplomatic support for Israel’s operation in Gaza, which has resulted in the death of more than 34,000 Palestinians and the wounding of over 77,000 Palestinians.

Students are calling on their universities to condemn Israel’s US-backed military campaign in Gaza, to divest from companies linked to Israel, and to discontinue study abroad programs at Israeli universities, among other demands.

According to US media, more than 900 individuals — students, faculty and also others — have been arrested on university and college campuses in the US in a show of force broadcast on US media to compel the demonstrators to stop. Some of the students have been suspended from the schools they attend.

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