Columbia student protests escalate; Hamilton Hall occupied, barricade erected

ABC News is reporting that Pro-Palestinian protesters at Columbia University occupied a hall on campus early Tuesday, hours after school officials ordered the dispersal of a protest encampment.

Videos viewed by ABC News appeared to show protesters creating a barricade with metal chairs outside Hamilton Hall after midnight.

The Student Newspaper, the Columbia Spectator, states: “At around 1:40 a.m., protesters inside Hamilton unfurled a banner reading “Hind’s Hall”—renaming Hamilton after Hind Rajab, a six-year-old Palestinian killed by the Israeli military in Gaza.

The occupation came nearly two weeks after University President Minouche Shafik authorized the New York Police Department to sweep the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” on April 18, leading to the largest mass arrest on campus since 1968, when student protesters also occupied Hamilton and over 80 people inside were arrested. A University spokesperson did not immediately reply to a request for comment.”

According to the Spectator, the student paper, “By 4 a.m. Tuesday dozens of protesters remained in front of Hamilton, with most sitting in front of the barricaded entrance and by the admissions office entrance on College Walk. A group of four sat on the third floor balcony, holding a Palestinian flag as one addressed the crowd with a megaphone.

The Emergency Management Operations Team sent an email to the Columbia community at 4:33 am, writing that “members of the University community who can avoid coming to the Morningside campus today (Tuesday, April 30) should do so.” Access to the Morningside campus and its buildings “may be restricted,” according to the email.

Throughout the night, protesters occupying the building led multiple call-and-response chants with those picketing outside of the building. Addressing the demonstrators gathered below, one of the protesters standing on the ledge declared, “This building is now liberated.”

As of 6 a.m. on Tuesday morning, Hamilton Hall remained occupied