Protesters used 'heavy industrial chains' to barricade Columbia building

New York police were forced to use specialized equipment to breach into Hamilton Hall after protesters took over the historic Columbia University building.

Protesters used 'heavy industrial chains' to barricade Columbia building
Marco Postigo Storel via AP
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In a dramatic scene at Columbia University on Tuesday night, the New York Police Department arrested between 40-50 anti-Israel protesters who had illegally occupied a campus building. NYPD Deputy Commissioner Tarik Sheppard provided details of the operation during an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Wednesday.

Sheppard displayed some of the heavy chains and locks that protesters had used to secure the doors of Hamilton Hall after taking it over earlier that day. "This is not what students bring to school. This is what professionals bring to campuses and universities," he stated.

To breach the barricaded building, the NYPD's emergency services unit first had to cut through the reinforced chains on the doors. They then cleared debris intentionally obstructing the entrances, including refrigerators, vending machines and chairs, according to Sheppard.

Footage also showed an armored NYPD vehicle with an attached ladder that allowed officers to enter through a window of the occupied hall. Sheppard commended the police for carrying out the operation and arrests "without incident," the Daily Wire reports.

The anti-Israel protest at Columbia began nearly two weeks ago, with demonstrators demanding the university divest from Israel amid the nation's conflict with Hamas. One protester was filmed smashing a window before the group renamed Hamilton Hall as "Hind's Hall" after someone they called "a martyr murdered...by the genocidal Israeli state."

Some conservative voices have alleged financial backing from organizations like George Soros' Open Society Foundations for the campus protests by groups like Students for Justice in Palestine. "There's real money behind it," claimed Sen. Ted Cruz.

Former President Donald Trump echoed these claims of "paid agitators" being involved, citing the uniform nature of protest signs as evidence of professional coordination rather than grassroots activism.

Columbia University has not publicly commented on the allegations of external funding for the protests on their campus.

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