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Over 100 Pro-Palestinian Protesters Arrested at Columbia University, New York

More than 100 pro-Palestinian protesters were arrested at Columbia University in New York, United States. The arrests were made on suspicion of criminal trespass during a protest that began with an encampment a day earlier.

The university’s administration gave the New York Police Department (NYPD) the green light to clear the protesters. The university also began suspending protesting students, including Isra Hirsi. The NYPD stated that the group launched fireworks and many were wearing face coverings. Officers used their Section 60 and 60AA powers to detain and search those involved.

The protest was part of a larger movement across the United States, where highways have been blocked, trains have been delayed, and sections of college campuses have been shut down by hundreds of thousands of people who have taken to the streets. They were protesting Israel’s invasion of Gaza since October 7.

Members of the movement say the size of the demonstrations is a response to the killing of more than 30,000 Palestinians in Gaza, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. Pro-Israel groups, meanwhile, are pushing Congress and federal law enforcement agencies to investigate whether any of the protests across the U.S. are getting money from abroad and whether their leaders have ties to Hamas or other terrorist groups.

The movement appears grassroots, with localized efforts that coordinate primarily through social media using apps such as Telegram, X, WhatsApp, and Instagram. Nerdeen Kiswani, a law school graduate, founded the group Within Our Lifetime nearly a decade ago to build a community for young people who want to raise awareness for the Palestinian cause.

The protests have also caught the attention of President Joe Biden, who responded to pro-Palestinian protesters who interrupted his health care speech, saying, "They have a point". Biden has faced numerous anti-war protests at his events since the Israel-Hamas war began Oct. 7, and especially as calls have grown for his administration to take stronger action on the civilian death toll in Gaza.

The events at Columbia University are a stark reminder of the global resonance of the Palestinian cause and the willingness of people around the world, including students at prestigious institutions like Columbia University, to stand up for what they believe in, even in the face of potential arrest.

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