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Smashed windows, stacked furniture left after occupation of Hamilton Hall at Columbia University

Protesters took over and occupied the building on the Manhattan campus of Columbia University early Tuesday. Police moved in Tuesday night, making arrests and clearing the structure.
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Images and video released by Columbia University show overturned and stacked furniture, broken windows and other damage in the aftermath of the seizure and occupation of Hamilton Hall by protesters and its clearing by police Tuesday.

The images from inside Hamilton Hall show overturned chairs, tables and other furniture. Protesters broke windows and caused other damage at the occupied hall, university officials said and images showed. Barricades had also been set up.

In videos released by the university, police with riot helmets and other equipment are seen inside the building, near the piles of furniture, recycling bins and other items. Panes of glass inside the building were also smashed.

New York police used a large vehicle with a ramp on it to get into the second-story window of the hall on the Manhattan campus, and they later reported that it was cleared and secured.

Police cleared the protesters in Hamilton Hall and at protest encampments at Columbia after Mayor Eric Adams said the protest against the war in Gaza has "basically been co-opted by professional outside agitators."

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New York police officers in riot gear break into a building at Columbia University on Tuesday.Kena Betancur / AFP - Getty Images

"We cannot and will not allow what should be a peaceful gathering to turn into a violent spectacle that serves no purpose," Adams said at around 6 p.m. ET Tuesday, adding, "This must end now."Shortly after 9 p.m., police entered the campus after Columbia asked for their help.

"The events on campus last night have left us no choice," university President Nemat “Minouche” Shafik wrote in a letter to the police department.

Shafik has been criticized by students as well as faculty members for the university's response to protests against the war in Gaza, and she has been accused of silencing pro-Palestinian voices on the Ivy League campus.

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Police officers in riot gear stand outside Hamilton Hall on Tuesday.Columbia University

One of those critics was Debbie Becher, a professor of sociology at Barnard College, which is an official Columbia college, who said Tuesday night on NBC News that the administration for months "has continuously suppressed students’ speech."Columbia has said encampments had to go for safety reasons, but negotiations with students did not result in people leaving. The occupation of Hamilton Hall and the vandalism were "an untenable situation," university spokesman Ben Chang said Tuesday.

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Student desks inside an elevator in Hamilton Hall.Columbia University

Nearly 100 people were arrested, about 40 of them at Hamilton Hall, after police moved in to clear protesters at the university’s request, officials said.Shafik also asked police to keep a presence on the campus through at least May 17 — two days after the scheduled May 15 commencement. An estimated 15,000 students are set to graduate, the university has said.

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Furniture inside Hamilton Hall.Columbia University

Hamilton Hall has been occupied by protesters before, famously in the 1968 protest at Columbia against the Vietnam War.This year, police cleared an encampment protesting the war in Gaza on Columbia's South Lawn at the university's request on April 18. Over 100 people were arrested. Protesters then set up a new encampment.

Protesters at Columbia and at other universities have demanded that colleges divest from companies connected to Israel or the war in Gaza.

Israel went to war with Hamas in Gaza after Hamas militants attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing more than 1,200 people, as well as taking hostages. More than 34,000 people have been killed in Gaza, according to the Health Ministry in Gaza.