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The occupation of Columbia: A look back in photos

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Calling on-campus security concerns “insurmountable,” Columbia University on Monday canceled its traditional, university-wide commencement, which had been scheduled for May 15.

As a result, students whose college experience was first marred by the COVID pandemic now will not have a commencement, either.

The Morningside Heights campus has had a police presence since April 30, when the university asked officers to clear out pro-Palestinian protesters who had broken into and occupied Hamilton Hall the previous night and others still camping out in tents on the lawn outside.

Day One of the Columbia encampment on April 17 as the occupation took root. (Photo by Q. Sakamaki)

The student protesters are demanding, among other things, that the Ivy League school divest from companies doing business with Israel.

Mayor Adams and police top brass, meanwhile, charge that “outside agitators” have been infiltrating the campus protests. In fact, according to Adams and police, of the 112 Columbia protesters arrested April 30, a full 40 percent were non-students.

The university has reportedly asked police to stay on the campus through May 17 to prevent further occupations and disruptions from occurring.

Award-winning photographer Q. Sakamaki, who formerly lived in the East Village but now lives in Harlem near Columbia, documented the protests during their entirety.

A protester was arrested at Columbia on April 18 as police cleared the occupation for the first time. (Photo by Q. Sakamaki)
After the tent city was evicted and more than 100 arrests made on April 18, student protesters ringed the space. (Photo by Q. Sakamaki)
A speaker rallied the protesters after the tent city’s first eviction. (Photo by Q. Sakamaki)
Students quickly started camping out and pitching tents again later in the day after police had dismantled the Gaza Solidarity Encampment for the first time. (Photo by Q. Sakamaki)
Protesters prayed Islamic style on the night of April 18 after they had promptly reestablished the occupation site. (Photo by Q. Sakamaki)
April 18. (Photo by Q. Sakamaki)
Day 6: Some Jews joined the pro-Palestinian campout. (Photo by Q. Sakamaki)
April 22. (Photo by Q. Sakamaki)
Jewish counter-protesters outside of the Columbia campus gave it back to the anti-Israel protesters. (Photo by Q. Sakamaki)
The encampment continued on the night of April 26. (Photo by Q. Sakamaki)
Waving a Palestinian flag and beating a metal platter with a spoon while wearing keffiyehs, protesters celebrated on April 29 after a 2 p.m. deadline to vacate the tent city passed without Columbia taking any action. (Photo by Q. Sakamaki)
Protesters rallied on April 29 after the eviction deadline passed. One of their signs blasted conservative political figure Laura Loomer. (Photo by Q. Sakamaki)
A demonstrators at Columbia on April 30, after hardcore protesters the previous night had occupied the school’s Hamilton Hall. (Photo by Q. Sakamaki)
Palestinian flags flew in front of and on top of Columbia’s Hamilton Hall after protesters broke into and occupied the building the previous night. Later on the night of April 30, hundreds of helmet-wearing police stormed the Uptown campus and evicted the protesters from both the building and the tent city outside on the lawn. (Photo by Q. Sakamaki)

One Comment

  1. Carol Frances Yost Carol Frances Yost May 8, 2024

    These photos are wonderful! At last a fair presentation of the protesters.

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