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Protests Escalate As White House Denounces Campus Building Takeover

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Protesters hold umbrellas as they move supplies into Hamilton Hall, where students at Columbia University have barricaded themselves inside as they continue to protest in support of Palestinians, despite orders from university officials to disband, or face suspension, during the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in New York City, U.S., April 30, 2024. REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs

(CTN News) – According to the White House, the occupying of a campus building by Columbia University students on Tuesday is “the wrong approach” as it is a non-peaceful protest against the war in Gaza.

In a statement, White House spokesman John Kirby said that the White House is closely monitoring the escalating protests on American campuses as well as those in Europe and other parts of the world.

The president said at a press briefing that he believes that forcibly occupying a building on campus is not an example of a peaceful protest. This is not the type of protest the president would endorse,” Kirby said.

In spite of the fact that the president does have sweeping authority to federalize the National Guard, Kirby said such a move was not in mind in light of the latest developments at Columbia University in New York City, where students entered the building, blocked the doors, and linked arms outside to form a barricade.

It was reported in the White House Columbia Spectator newspaper that New York City police arrived outside the school gates after the breach, but they stated only that they would enter if there were injuries.

As far as federalizing the National Guard is concerned, he explained that there is no active effort at this time to give it that concept. According to Kirby, in the sense that he was aware of, he was not aware of any evidence of bad actors being involved in the protests occurring across the country at college campuses in any way.

In his statement, Kirby emphasized that the government supports free speech rights and the right of protest, but said that it is essential that the protests remain peaceful so as not to pose a threat to other students as well.

As he has in recent days, White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates added in a statement that its president Joe Biden “condemns the use of the term ‘intifada,’ (uprising) for the same reasons he has condemned other tragic and dangerous hate speech displayed on social media in recent days.”

According to Bates, “Forcibly taking over buildings is not peaceful – it is a violation of the constitution, and hate speech and hate symbols have no place in American society,” he said in a statement.

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Salman Ahmad is a seasoned writer for CTN News, bringing a wealth of experience and expertise to the platform. With a knack for concise yet impactful storytelling, he crafts articles that captivate readers and provide valuable insights. Ahmad's writing style strikes a balance between casual and professional, making complex topics accessible without compromising depth.

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