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Students at Columbia continue their pro-Palestinian protests


Last night, Columbia University students protesting the war in Gaza were readying themselves for a new round of mass arrests.


Columbia's president issued an ultimatum - disperse by midnight or else the university would consider, quote-unquote, "alternative options" to clear the encampment. A statement from the protesters say they were threatened with the police and National Guard if they did not agree to university demands.

Manuela Silva is the city news editor with the Columbia Daily Spectator. That's the independent student newspaper. As midnight approached, she says some students started moving their tents.

MANUELA SILVA: We also saw demonstrators starting to hand out cards, reading, quote, "if you are arrested," which gave students instructions to, for example, remain silent or clarify if they would like to speak to an attorney.

FADEL: Midnight came and went. Then around 3 a.m., the university announced what it called important progress. Protesters agreed to remove some of the tents, restrict the protest to Columbia students and prohibit discriminatory or harassing language. Amira McKee, the Spectator's head of investigation, says she and her colleagues have been covering the protest 24/7 since they began a week ago.

AMIRA MCKEE: It is surreal, honestly, to see an area and a community that we cover every day be in the national spotlight in this way.

MARTIN: So administrators will continue negotiations for another 48 hours. The protesters are demanding the university divest from companies that profit from the war and those that do business with Israel. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

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