Speaker Johnson: Columbia Protests ‘Not Protected Free Speech’

(ConservativeSense.com) – Protesters at Columbia University recently took over a building on campus before police moved in to throw them out, and House Speaker Mike Johnson condemned the demonstrators for crossing the line.

On Tuesday, April 30, Johnson responded to the recent move by protesters at Columbia to take over Hamilton Hall, claiming their behavior does not constitute “protected free speech.” He criticized the pro-Palestinian movement on the New York campus for “threatening students’ lives” and chanting for the death of America, as well as “shutting down campuses” and taking over school buildings.

The House Speaker said the actions of the protesters violate the rights of others, particularly Jewish students who are “trying to get an education.”

A few dozen protesters broke into the building and barricaded themselves inside early Tuesday morning, the day after the university warned the encampment on campus grounds that they had until 2 PM, Monday afternoon (the previous day) to dismantle it and clear out. The order came after failed negotiations between protesters and administrators. Those who took over the building did so in defiance of that order, hanging a Palestinian flag from its window and barricading themselves inside until police forced them out.

Johnson said the demonstrators crossed the Rubicon from free speech into threats, intimidation, and harassment, which “is unlawful.”

A week prior to the Hamilton Hall incident, the House Speaker visited the campus during the protests and said the situation was “out of control” and that “innocent students” needed protection from antisemitism. He’s also called on the Columbia University president to resign and said schools that failed to take control of their campuses should have federal funding revoked.

The day after the Tuesday night expulsion of protesters in New York, counter-protesters waving Israeli flags clashed with the pro-Palestinian encampment at UCLA until police showed up. Other campuses have also been receiving more crackdowns from police.

Protests across the country recently escalated over the past week after the passing of a foreign aid package that includes substantial sums for Israel.

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