US Riot Police Storm The Universities – Time For Workers Everywhere To Take General Strike Action!

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HUNDREDS of police officers in riot gear have arrested pro-Palestinian students at Columbia University, after the university authorities requested that they ‘clear all individuals’ from a campus building and encampments.

New York Police Department (NYPD) officers stormed the academic premises through a large vehicle with an extendable ramp to gain entry to a second-floor window of the Hamilton Hall on Tuesday night, which university officials said was occupied early Tuesday by students protesting against Israel’s war on Gaza.

In honour of the tragic death of Hind Rajab, a six-year-old Palestinian girl, who was killed in Gaza in February after hours of pleading for help, the Hamilton Hall building was given a new name ‘Hind’s Hall’ by the protesting students.

They occupied it following the announcement from the management that it had started the suspension process of students who failed to comply with the initial deadline to disperse.

Officers wearing helmets began entering the building through a window at around 9:30 p.m. (0130 GMT, Wednesday), while additional officers arrived on campus through the main entrance gate on foot.

‘We’re clearing it out,’ the riot unit police officers shouted commands as they advanced towards the barricaded entrance of the building, with numerous other officers converging on the main protest camp.

Following the incident, law enforcement officials were seen escorting numerous demonstrators, who had their hands restrained with plastic zip ties, to police cars near the entrance of the university campus. ‘Free, free, free Palestine!’ chanted protesters outside the building, while others yelled: ‘Let the students go!’

US Presidential candidate for the 2024 elections, Jill Stein, who was arrested during an anti-war protest at Washington University, has said that the American police departments are receiving training from Israel. ‘Many US police departments – including St. Louis’ – are being trained by Israel to use military occupation-style tactics against their own communities,’ Stein said in a post on a social media platform.

A coalition of 21 House Democrats was also behind the crackdown, which joined Republicans in calling on Columbia University to take action against pro-Palestinian demonstrators, which led to the arrest of numerous protesters on Tuesday.

The group urged the university board to either take decisive action or step down, adding bipartisan pressure to the situation.

‘The time for negotiation is over; the time for action is now,’ the lawmakers said in a letter, dated Monday, demanding the clearing of the encampment of demonstrators. Protesting students have said that the demonstrations will continue until their demands are met, the most important of which is for the university to divest from Israel.

Clashes also took place at encampments that pro-Palestinian students had set up at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus, between pro-Palestinian protesters and a group of counter-demonstrators.

The UCLA authorities described the events at their university campus as ‘horrific violence’, which took place following the storming of hundreds of New York police officers at Columbia University grounds on Tuesday night.

Meanwhile the president of the European Commission has expressed opposition to Israel’s planned ground invasion of the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, denouncing the possible imminent attack as ‘completely unacceptable’.

Ursula von der Leyen made the remarks on Tuesday, after Israel said it had approved final plans for the phased invasion of Rafah, despite growing international opposition.

There is no doubt that the US working class will not stand by and watch students being attacked by riot police because of their support for Palestine.

In fact the workers of the world will not stand by and just watch the students fighting courageously on their own. There is only one way forward. The US, UK and EU§ trade unions must call general strikes to bring down their governments, and bring in workers governments to put an end to the backward and historically doomed capitalist system!