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City College of New York goes remote after NYPD arrests protesters. See the statement

By Jessica Moore, Derick Waller

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    NEW YORK, NY (WCBS) — City College of New York is holding remote classes Wednesday after pro-Palestinian protesters clashed with police Tuesday night.

At a news conference Wednesday morning, authorities said 173 people were arrested at City College. Another 109 were arrested at a related protest at Columbia University.

Protesters in plastic handcuffs were loaded on a bus Tuesday night and taken away for booking.

The campus remained shut down Wednesday.

The arrests happened after protesters were seen lighting flares under a gothic arch on campus, sending up bright plumes of red smoke.

CIty College sent a letter to the NYPD asking for their help after the college said students and “un-affiliated external individuals” refused to leave, and taunted officers. At one point, an officer was sprayed with some sort of liquid.

“We’re always peaceful. We’re always calm. We’re always doing our thing. Then they sent in a group of cops to come push us in and press us for literally nothing. We were just standing on the sidewalk protesting, which is our first amendment right,” protestor Abdullah Mulic said.

Officers used barricades to close the campus entrances and the streets leading to them, and played recorded warnings of imminent arrests.

“Those police officers showed a great level of discipline to not let this turn into an out-of-control situation,” Mayor Eric Adams said Wednesday.

Protesters say they were pushed around Some of the protesters say they saw things a bit differently.

“At one point, we were pinned up against the barricade. Police behind us, police in front of us, sandwiching us, pushing us from the back and from the front. My ankle got caught in the fence, and then they pushed my friend really hard. If there weren’t people in front of him, he would have faceplanted on the floor,” Mulic said.

Police did not report any injuries to demonstrators, but the activists told CBS New York they were pushed around.

“Just to divest, don’t support people who support war. Get money elsewhere, it’s simple, it’s not too much to ask,” said protester Zayd Patel.

City College posted a statement that said, in part, “students have a right to demonstrate peacefully and exercise their first amendment rights. Tonight’s actions were taken in response to specific and repeated acts of violence and vandalism, not in response to peaceful protest.”

The MTA says 1 train service had been suspended at 116th Street because of the demonstrations, but is now back up and running.

Wednesday morning, things were calm on the campus. At 140th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, there were police blocking the street adjacent to the school.

The rising tension comes as police arrested dozens of protesters at Columbia University after students defied the deadline to remove their encampment, and some occupied Hamilton Hall.

Overnight, the department shared a video on social media showing officers remove a Palestinian flag and replace it with the American flag, which had previously flown at that location before the protest began. The video shows them tear down the flag and ball it up before tossing it out of frame.

City College is a 35 acre campus that hosts 16,000 students. No one has been allowed back onto campus since Tuesday night, and all buildings remain closed.

The last day of classes for students is May 15.

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