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New York mayor is attributing the escalation of protests at Columbia to 'outside agitators'

"Globally, there is a movement to radicalize young people," said New York Mayor Eric Adams.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams
Posted at 2:16 PM, May 01, 2024

Things are now surprisingly calm at Columbia University, a big change from the tense atmosphere of the past few days.

Dozens of protesters against the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas had taken over Hamilton Hall on the Columbia campus, demanding the university end any ties with Israel and any organization supporting the war in Gaza.

However, after a two-week standoff, law enforcement ended the occupation Tuesday night by arresting nearly 300 people at both Columbia University and City College of New York. Law enforcement made a total of 292 arrests, with 173 from City College and 119 from Columbia University, with the New York Police Department reporting no injuries from the arrests.

Additionally, the NYPD says it had to secure five dormitories housing approximately 2,000 students, highlighting that the situation was managed within a relatively short time frame.

Police at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

U.S. News

Here's a snapshot of the protests of the war in Gaza happening at US colleges

AP via Scripps News
1:51 PM, Apr 30, 2024

Meanwhile, New York Mayor Eric Adams is attributing the escalation of events to “outside agitators," casting blame on forces beyond the student body.

"Globally, there is a movement to radicalize young people, and I'm not going to wait until it's done and all of a sudden acknowledge the existence of it," Adams said in a press conference Wednesday. "It was about external actors hijacking peaceful protests and influence students to escalate. There's nothing peaceful about barricading buildings, destroying property, or dismantling security cameras. We cannot allow what should be lawful protest to turn into a violent spectacle that saves and serves no purpose."

While there is a notable change in the atmosphere Wednesday, Columbia has restricted campus access to only students and staff with valid identification, and the NYPD will be patrolling the campus until May 17 as a means to maintain tight security.

The NYPD stated that they are deferring to the criminal justice system to handle the cases of those who were arrested Tuesday night. However, the charges individuals may face will vary depending on their actions, potentially including trespassing, burglary, or criminal mischief, among other offenses.