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Brutality being inflicted on peaceful protesters at Columbia University: US lawmaker

May 1, 2024 at 8:34 pm

New York Police Department officers enter the Columbia University building and detain pro-Palestinian demonstrators as they had barricaded themselves to iconic Hamilton Hall building in New York, United States on April 30, 2024 [Selçuk Acar/Anadolu Agency]

A US Congressman voiced concern, Wednesday, after guns were drawn on students protesting Israel’s onslaught against the Gaza Strip at New York’s Columbia University, Anadolu Agency reports.

“When I was 11 years old, I was a victim of police brutality simply for being Black in America. And now I see that brutality being inflicted on peaceful protesters at Columbia University,” Jamaal Bowman said in a video from the floor of the House of Representatives that was posted on X. “And for what? Simply exercising their first amendment rights to peacefully assemble as they protest the collective punishment and murder of civilians in Gaza.”

His remarks came after 300 people were arrested when police responded to pro-Palestine protests at the school and the City College of New York late Tuesday.

Bowman added: “100,000 killed and injured, mostly women and children, protesting our tax payer dollars going to (Israeli Prime Minister) Benjamin Netanyahu to continue this mass murder. That is their rights. They are supposed to push us to stand for what this flag represents.”

“Are we in a police state or is this a democracy? We must stand with our young people and demand justice and freedom for Palestinians and everyone in this world.”

Protests are sweeping college campuses nationwide following a police attempt to clear a pro-Palestine encampment at Columbia almost two weeks ago, resulting in the arrest of more than 100 students.

Hundreds of students have been arrested on campuses, with protests demanding universities divest from Israel and condemning the war on the besieged enclave, where more than 34,400 victims have been killed.

Students in other countries including Canada, Australia, France and Egypt have organised demonstrations at universities in solidarity with Palestine.

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