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DA drops charges against 31 pro-Palestinian protesters arrested at Columbia

New York Police Department officers remove and arrest protesters who occupied the Hamilton Hall building at Columbia University in New York City on April 30, 2024. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

June 21 (UPI) -- The Manhattan District Attorney's Office has dismissed charges laid against more than 30 pro-Palestinian protesters who were arrested last month inside Columbia University's Hamilton Hall.

Thirty-one of the 46 people charged with trespassing tied to the protest had their charges dismissed Thursday by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, due to a general lack of evidence, NBC News reported.

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The district attorney's office also said it offered to dismiss the charges laid against 14 other defendants if they avoided arrest over the next six months -- an offer they rejected.

Prosecutors said none of the arrested students had a prior criminal history, Fox News reported, adding that those affiliated with Columbia were still facing disciplinary proceedings, which could result in expulsion.

The Manhattan District Attorney's Office said it is still proceeding with charges laid against a protester identified as James Carlson with has no affiliation to the university. He was charged in two separate cases, including one involving the burning of a flag.

The protesters had occupied Columbia University's Hamilton Hall and were arrested late April after hundreds of New York Police Department officers gained access to the facility.

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The demonstration came as protesters at universities nationwide were calling on their institutions to divest from Israel and companies linked to Israel's military amid the Middle Eastern country's war against Hamas in the Palestinian enclave of Gaza.

According to the Palestine Ministry of Health, more than 37,400 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have been killed during the eight-month conflict.

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