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Violent Clashes Between Rival Protest Groups on UCLA Campus; IRGC Shows CNN Weapons that were Used in Attack on Israel; Adams: Outside Instigators had Entered the Protest at the University; NY Mayor Makes Comments after Columbia Protest Sites Cleared; NY Mayor: Outside Instigators Caused Safety Concerns at Columbia. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired May 01, 2024 - 09:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: The mayor of New York speaking now after police cleared protesters from a building at Columbia University.

Let's listen in.


ERIC ADAMS, (D) MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: We were well aware, based on a series of observations, that what should have been a peaceful protest, that

is part of the constitution rights of Americans, has clearly been co-opted. A right which this administration supports in defense to voice your

concern, but we have also will continue and we have sounded the alarm numerous times before about external actors who attempted to hijack this

protest. Tonight, we are here to show you some example of these external actors who have no affiliation with Columbia University, as well as some of

our other educational facilities.



ANDERSON: OK. Well we have been listening to the New York City Mayor speaking after protests, trying to get those pictures back for you. Do we

have those again? OK, the New York City Mayor announcing that he believes that these protests around Columbia have been co-opted. He said that

external actors have attempted to hijack.

What is he said the right to peaceful protests. Let's bring in CNN's Gabe Cohen, who's been at the scene at Columbia University since early this

morning. Gabe, we just lost the transmission for the New York City Mayor. We'll get him back as and when we can I be you were listening into the top

of what he just said there and your thoughts?

GABE COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, with Becky, we heard certainly the tone change about 24 hours ago that was after Hamilton Hall, this building

right behind me had been occupied by protesters for about a day or so. And today, you can see clearly this big NYPD presents a few officers here.

As we come around. There's a lot more security a lot more officers in this restricted main entrance to the campus here. But look, the tone had really

changed where you heard the mayor yesterday, Eric Adams talking about those professional outside agitators, as he put it.

The insinuation or the claim at least that more than half of the people involved in the protests, Becky, were not affiliated with Columbia. And

they felt that the violence associated with breaking and entering Hamilton Hall here warranted additional action and the school obviously agree

because the school not only requested that the NYPD come in and clear out the protesters that were on the lawn as well as in the building.

But they also have requested that the NYPD stay here until May 17, two days after graduation. And so we expect we're going to continue to see this,

officers out front trying to make sure that more protests don't pop back up. But look, the reality is, Becky, that this campus is divided on this


We have a lot of Jewish students and faculty and members of the community here who have raised concerns about safety for Jewish students and Jewish

individuals who fear that the protest has created an environment that is unsafe for them. But I've also spoken with students who said last night I

spoke with a freshman who was inside his dorm he talked about last night.

A lot of other students around him there being disagreement, some feeling like police didn't belong on the campus that student safety was at risk is

that police action, dozens of officers came in and arrested a couple 100 of these protesters. Some felt like that shouldn't happen here at Columbia,

there are others who felt like it was necessary given the escalation of the protests.

But again, it is a quiet morning, today. We'll see what happens in the hours ahead, especially as we learn more about those protesters who have

been arrested, as we learn how many of them are Columbia students, or if the mayor is right that so many of them are outside agitators.

ANDERSON: If people have been watching CNN, they will have seen these images overnight. And I know people will be interested to hear from you

then. I mean things look very quiet now. What was the atmosphere? How would you describe it? And now is there a sense of anticipation at this point? Is

this done for now? What's your sense?

COHEN: Well, some of that is hard to predict what the future holds, having spoken with some of the students and just people around. There's not a

sense that there is any imminent threat of retaliation by protesters or anything like that there are those who hope it's just done for now, in

terms of what the scene was like last night, I want to spin around and just give you a sense, like it was a chaotic scene.

And we saw an operation where dozens of police officers from the NYPD climbed in through a second floor window. And it was really, it was

dramatic. It was Becky. One of the issues that we're facing is that media is not allowed on this campus. It's closed and even last night's Student

Press has been allowed on.

But even they were pushed aside by police as they came on. So we're relying on images that have come from NYPD and protesters and obviously both of

them have their own interests.

ANDERSON: Yeah, I just want to get the images up from last night and split the screen if we can. Gabe, because I think it is remarkable to see where

you are now. Comparing that to last night, can we do that? Can we bring up those images? All right, I tell you what, I'm going to let you go for the

time being. Gabe, I'll get back to you. Thank you.


To Los Angeles now where there is heavy presence on UCLA's campus after violent clashes erupted there during protests overnight. Right now rows of

officers are lined up to calm things down. But earlier violent fights broke out. After university officials late Tuesday declared a pro-Palestinian

encampment unlawful.

Some protesters tossed fireworks into the crowd and through a number of objects. Well, this dramatic video shows a group of protesters trying to

pull barricades away from the pro-Palestinian encampment on campus. At one point, pepper spray appeared to be deployed from the encampment across the


A short time ago, CNN spoke with a spokesperson for the pro-Palestinian encampment about the escalating violence on campus. Have a listen as

Vincent Doehr, who is also a student at UCLA, lashed out at the university's handling of the situation.


VINCENT DOEHR, PHD STUDENT AT UCLA DEPARTMENT OF POLITICAL SCIENCE: But what happened last night was an attack on our encampment by Zionist thugs

that the university did nothing to stop. We have warned the university about the threats of rape, death threats against our students, physical

harassment, and the release of rats on our encampment by Zionist during the nighttime.

And the university instead released a statement yesterday claiming that the encampment was the source of the violence. Well, we know that actually

every night scientists have come and harassed the encampment, harass students trying to peacefully call for a divestment of the UC's endowment

from corporations that profit off of the Israeli genocide of Palestinians.

We saw a Zionist grab our barricades and try to rip them down Zionist -- the majority of students in the encampment and the police that the

university had hired the private security guards stared and watched as this happened, despite us warning the UC repeatedly that this was likely to



ANDERSON: A perspective of what went on overnight there at UCLA and we'll get you more with our reporter on the ground there coming up. Meantime, the

U.S. Secretary of State continues his travels in Israel today. Antony Blinken has been meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

to discuss ongoing efforts to reach a ceasefire in Gaza saying that Hamas is standing in the way of that agreement to any agreement earlier today.

He shook hands with protesters who are calling for a deal he told them he met with hostage families giving another clear message.


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Bringing your loved ones home is at the heart of everything we're trying to do. And we will not rest until

everyone, man, woman, soldier, civilian, young, old is back home. There is a very strong proposal on the table right now. Hamas needs to say yes and

needs to get this done.


ANDERSON: Reiterating a message that he delivered in Riyadh on Monday. He's been in Amman, Jordan since then and now in Israel. CNN's Jeremy Diamond

joins me from Jerusalem. The hostage and ceasefire talks are the clear focus for Antony Blinken on this visit.

He's also making an absolute point about getting more humanitarian aid into the Enclave. Just tell us more about this message here from the U.S.

Secretary of State, Jeremy.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think Secretary Blinken is trying to accomplish a few things. He wants to reassure the

hostage families that he is pushing the Israeli government as hard as possible to agree to this deal. If indeed the opportunity arises. He wants

to raise the pressure on Hamas, saying that this is a good deal, and that they should accept it and quickly.

And he also wants to reassure the hostage families, of course, that he and the U.S. administration is doing everything in their power to get to that

point and this was part of his message to those families, listen.


BLINKEN: We're determined to get a ceasefire that brings the hostages home and to get it now. And the only reason that wouldn't be achieved is because

of Hamas.


DIAMOND: And so you can hear that framing, Becky, is really putting the onus on Hamas at this stage. We know that this latest Egyptian framework

has been crafted with significant Israeli input. They haven't agreed to all of the terms but certainly they are more on board at this point than Hamas

is and over the course of the last several days Hamas has been reviewing that proposal including Hamas' leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar.


But they have yet to deliver their official response and that at this point is what the United States, the Egyptian and Qatar remediators as well as

Israel are waiting for to see whether or not a deal is even possible. Their response won't result in an immediate deal if it is a positive response.

But it will at least signal whether or not serious negotiations over the details of this proposal are indeed possible.

And certainly Israeli officials have indicated to me that this is the last chance basically to stop an Israeli ground defensive in Rafah, that if

there is no seriousness of negotiations from Hamas, then that Rafah offensive will indeed move forward. They're also of course, using the

threat of that offensive to try and pressure Hamas to say yes.

ANDERSON: So at this point, it really isn't clear. Or perhaps it is clear, but we don't know where the buck will fall on whether Rafah is a strategic

target or just a bargaining chip. Let's have a listen to what Benjamin Netanyahu had to say.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Today, I met with the representatives of families of the fallen and families of the hostages, I

told them, we will complete the war objectives. We will evacuate the civilian population so that we can focus on the terrorists as we have done

until now.

We will enter Rafah because we have no other choice, we will destroy the Hamas battalions there. We will complete all the objectives of the war,

including the repatriation of all our abductees.


ANDERSON: He is saying that the IDF will enter Rafah in the south of Gaza, regardless of a deal. And this is important because of course, the threat

of a military offensive on Rafah is hanging as a real cloud over these latest talks on a deal. How is this rhetoric from Israel's Prime Minister,

likely to impact these sensitive negotiations?

DIAMOND: You know, it's really hard to tell, Becky, because the question is, are the, you know, the folks at the table going to view this as

operational information that the Israeli Prime Minister is talking about? Are they going to view it through the lens of him in his role as prime

minister and the orders he may give to the Israeli military?

Or are they going to view it through the lens that I think probably makes more sense in this case, which is the lens of politics in Israel, because

hours after the Israeli Prime Minister made those comments, we then heard from Bezalel Smotrich, the Finance Minister, a key member of Netanyahu's

governing coalition, who's really propping up this government right now alongside Itamar Ben-Gvir.

And he basically threatened to walk to make this government collapse if the current deal that is on the table comes to fruition because he is saying

that he believes this deal will effectively lead to the end of the war before Israeli troops go into Rafah, before they complete the objectives of

defeating Hamas in Gaza.

So Netanyahu is really doing a lot of political messaging at the moment as well. And we will see whether or not that meets the diplomatic reality on

the ground.

ANDERSON: Understood, it's good to have you, Jeremy. Thank you. Let's get you back to the United States. Of course, we are continuing to cover

clashes between law enforcement and protesters which have been disrupting colleges across the nation with students facing arrest or expulsion in

their calls for divestment from companies that support Israel, and the war in Gaza.

And these are the very latest pictures coming into his live from Madison in Wisconsin. This is the campus of the University of Wisconsin and you can

see the police, they're holding down or restraining a number of individuals who I think it's fair to say are part of the encampment. I can see some

tents there on the ground.

I can't be absolutely sure where this is on the campus site. You can see there, let's report. Well, we can see in front of your eyes that are heavy

police presences with a number of individuals being restrained by authorities there at the University of Wisconsin. We have been across these

images now for a couple of minutes and we will continue to monitor them for you.

I want to get you from there to UCLA to California and CNN's Stephanie Elam who joins us from the campus at UCLA and again, for the purposes of our

viewers who may not have been across some of these images in the past hours from college campuses.


We have seen some pretty remarkable scenes at UCLA just describe where you are, what has been going on over these past hours and what the atmosphere

is now, Stephanie?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, well, Becky, I can tell you it's a lot calmer now than what we were seeing on the campus of UCLA overnight. If

you look behind me here, this is an area that has been held down by Israeli supporters. Then beyond that, there's a barricade. And on the other side of

the Barricade, there's a walkway that the university built in there.

And as we see some hired security, and then another barricade, and then the encampment of the pro Palestine supporters on that side. What we saw

overnight, was skirmishes breaking out. And in some of the videos, you could also see that there were some people who were pulling away the

barricades from the pro Palestine encampment and throwing things at them.

Some of those security people in the middle we're trying to put the barricades back. All of this going on while obviously there's plenty of

helicopters who are shooting this video and reporters out there. So you could see this, but what was missing was a police presence. And then after

1 am local that is when the Mayor of Los Angeles said that what she was saying was an --

And she called in for LAPD, the Los Angeles Police Department to make their way to campus. But they did not get here until things had been devolving

here on campus for a while. By the time we got to like 3 am that is about when the police were in position, maybe before that in the 2 o'clock hour,

were in position and we're pushing people out.

And they pushed people out, made a line of people across here where I'm standing now and then slowly started to erect this barricade that's right

here. But there were some protesters and they just used a wall of humanity, these law enforcement officers from different local agencies and push

people out on that side there.

There was still some agitation out here we saw some people yelling, but what I can tell you is it was enough inside there that some of the student

reporters for the school newspaper, The Daily Bruin said that some of the people had irritants sprayed at them, that they were injured, that they

were assaulted in there and that it was dangerous for them.

They now just put out a an Op-Ed on their website right now saying that UCLA is complicit in the violence that occurred last night because it took

so long for law enforcement officers to get here on campus. So there are questions of accountability. Yesterday, we saw the chance to say that this,

you know, encampment now.

What they were seeing was now unlawful, and that they were increasing the security that was on campus. But for these reporters, they're saying, where

was the security overnight? Why did it take so long for them to get here? But obviously, as you can tell, even when you take a look, and you look at

the law enforcement officers, you can see, Becky, that there's a very different energy now things are a lot calmer.

They're quiet. We did hear chanting from the Palestinian camp. But all of that now completely died down as the sun is just now starting to come up

here in Los Angeles, Becky.

ANDERSON: So just to be clear, the protests continue. Is that camp still functioning? Are they're still demonstrators?

ELAM: Yeah.

ANDERSON: Present?

ELAM: Yeah, I'm going to walk this way. So you can see a little bit here so if you, oh, they're definitely there. We heard them chanting maybe two

hours ago within the last few hours. But if you see down there and see that plywood that's down there, and the tents, you can actually see the

encampment is still very much there on the other side.

And you'd see they probably fix their barricades to put them back in place there. But overnight, we saw fireworks being thrown into the camp there,

you could see that they were pulling at the plywood and the barricades that were there, saw people throwing rocks in there, and then people spraying

something out from the camp towards the people.

So that's how everything was devolving. But you can see it's still very much there at this point today. We're going to be out here watching to see

what happens with this and if there are more pressures to remove this situation from campus. But as you can see, right now, the police presence

is there.

But they're not moving on anybody right now. They're not making any pushes to make people leave campus in this area right now.

ANDERSON: Stephanie, it's good to have you. Thank you. And thank you for that. Opening up the camera there so we can get a real sense of what is

going on now. Thank you for your reporting through the hours.


Let's get another look at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Then these are images just coming to us they've been coming into CNN in the past

few minutes. And if we bring them up, you can see there, a number of individuals on the right hand side of your screens being led away by


On the left hand side of your screen, there are police officers, sort of, and I guess, school authorities, they're in a cordon who've put a cordon

around a number of other individuals who are being restrained as it were by police, let's call them. Yep, I mean that would be the word that I would

use to describe what I am seeing here.

And I am just describing the images as they come in to CNN. This is the University of Wisconsin. This is Madison. So you see Madison police on the

highways jackets of those who are there. They have been given authorities, we understand it to go in to campus, and they are there.

OK. All right, well, we are keeping you bang up to date with these campus clashes across the United States. Meantime, back to the Middle East and the

stunning success of Israel and its allies in repelling Iran's attack last month, arguably matched by the level of firepower. Iran fired towards


Iran launched hundreds of drones and missiles, including cruise missiles, while almost all of them were intercepted. The attack offered the West a

sobering window into Iran's military capabilities. Fred Pleitgen is live in Teheran for us with an exclusive look at Iran's military arsenal, Fred,

good to have you.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Either, Becky, you're absolutely right. We did see some of the missiles and drones that

the Iranian said that they use in that attack on Israel, the types of those missiles and drones. And you're also absolutely right to say that the

Iranians say that they could have unleashed even more firepower if they wanted to.

However, they say that they conducted only a limited strike after their embassy compound in Damascus was hit and several top Revolutionary Guard

commanders were killed. Here's what we found.


PLEITGEN (voice-over): When Iran attacked Israel in mid-April they fired hundreds of ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and drones developed by the

elite Revolutionary Guard Corps aerospace forces.

PLEITGEN: So these two were used in the Israel operation.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Now the Revolutionary Guard showed us the types of weapons they use to strike Israel, including two ballistic missiles, the

Emad and the Ghadr, with a range of more than 1000 miles able to carry about a half ton warhead.

PLEITGEN: How accurate are these?


PLEITGEN: Less than five meters it can hit target.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Brigadier General Ali Belali was himself once a missile commander in the Revolutionary Guard. He says Iranian missiles

managed to hit two targets in Israel, including an airbase in retaliation for the bombing of Iran's embassy compound in Syria. While the U.S. and

Israel claimed to have shot down nearly all of Iran's missiles and drones, the general says Tehran showed the power of its aerospace forces.

Today our drones and missiles have become an important factor of strength and the execution of power in the world, he says. He also showed us this

cruise missile, a type also used in the strikes, and arguably currently the most infamous drone in the world, the Shahed 136.

PLEITGEN: Can you show me the warhead? I've never seen the Shahed warhead before

BELALI: -- and then it goes inside out into the missile and then it explodes.


PLEITGEN (voice-over): While the Iranians acknowledged using Shaheds against Israel, the U.S. and Ukraine accuse Tehran of also giving hundreds

of these drones to Russia, Moscow using them to attack Ukrainian cities and energy infrastructure. The Iranians continue to deny those accusations.

The general tells me that Shaheds attack in swarms often fired off secretly from unmarked trucks like this one. Everything is pre-programmed, he says.

The flight route is chosen according to the enemy's capabilities and blind spots of radars and all the elements that can help us reach the target.

Well, tensions between Iran and Israel have somewhat eased after they trade a direct military blows for the first time. The general warns Iran has even

more modern weapons at its disposal. The only path for them is to have logical and wise negotiations with us, he says. In our defense

capabilities, we don't depend on anyone. We've had good progress in this field and we will progress more. There are achievements that have not yet

been taught about.



PLEITGEN (on camera): As you can see there, Becky, some really tough words coming from Tehran. And of course the Iranians have also said that if

Israel strikes either Iran or its assets in the Middle East, the Iranians will hit back even harder, Becky.

ANDERSON: Good to have you. Thank you taking a very short break, back after this.


ANDERSON: Well today as stricter abortion law took effect in Florida it lowers the state's 15 week ban to just 6 weeks the laws impact is expected

to affect thousands of women in Florida and beyond Just in the first month. Florida State has been a destination for women seeking abortion care from

other nearby states with more restrictive laws.

Well the new measure bans almost all abortions after 6 weeks of pregnancy that's before many women even know that they are pregnant. Well,

reproductive rights continue to be a hot button issue in the race for the White House in 2024. President Joe Biden and his reelection campaign are

slamming Donald Trump's recent remarks on abortion.

In an interview with Time Magazine, published on Tuesday, Trump left the door open to states with abortion bans monitoring women's pregnancies to

determine if they access the procedure. Trump also said he believed it's up to the states to decide if women who violate an abortion ban should be

prosecuted. President Biden called Trump's remarks reprehensible.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: There seems to be no limit to how invasive Trump would let the state be. This should be a

decision between a woman and her doctor and the government should get out of people's lives.


ANDERSON: Well, still to come, a major shift in U.S. Drug Policy. The Biden Administration is planning to reclassify marijuana as a lower risk drug.

Our Chief Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta explains what that means, coming up.

ADAMS: The massive operation taking place at Columbia University. We also were dealing with an operation taking place at CUNY and we also had the

city to protect us.


So this is not the department that deals with one production at a time, the multitude of things that happens in the city of this capacity magnitude.

And you have to be a well-organized --

ANDERSON: Well the Mayor of New York speaking now after police cleared protesters from a building at Columbia University.

ADAMS: -- the Chief of Department Maddrey, Chief Shell, Commissioner Daughtry, first Deputy Commissioner, Kinsella, and the entire operation.

And specifically, I just really want to thank Commissioner Weiner, as she was the one that was monitoring the situation, when I first started seeing

the protests take place in the city, it just did not fit right.

So similar indicators from the Black Lives Matters March of when it was brought to my attention, that there were those who came to the city to

disrupt our city, and she was able to her team was able to conduct an investigation. And what I feared was actually materialized and actualized

by those who were on the ground.

And I know that there are those who are attempting to say, well, the majority of people may have been students, you don't have to be the

majority to influence and co-opt and operation. That is what this about. And so if we want to play the road police, you could do so. I want to play

the New York City police, where we're going to protect our city from those who are attempting to do what is happening globally.

There is a movement to radicalize young people. And I'm not going to wait until it's done. And all of a sudden acknowledge the existence of it. This

is a global problem that young people are being influenced by those who are professionals at radicalizing our children, and I'm not going to allow that

to happen as the Mayor of the City of New York.

So the men and women of the New York City Police Department should be proud of yourself at the request of Columbia University. After speaking with them

throughout the week, at their request and their acknowledgement that outside agitators were on their grounds training and really co-opt in this


At their request, we went in and conducted an operation to allow Columbia University to remove those who have turned the peaceful protests into a

place where anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli attitudes were pervasive. Approximately 300 people were arrested at Columbia and City College.

We are processing the arrest to distinguish between who were actual students and who were not supposed to be on the ground. And we pointed out

yesterday, these external actors with a history of escalating situations and trying to create chaos, not to peacefully protest, but create chaos.

If you were at City College and you saw the bottles, or the garbage cans, the other items that were thrown at police officers, those police officers

showed a great level of discipline, to not allow this to evolve to an out of control situation. As he pointed out yesterday, they are attempting to

disrupt our city and we are not going to permit it to happen.

And we're proud to say he had been removed from the campus. The NYPD's precision policing, ensure that the operation was organized, calm, and that

there were no injuries or violent clashes. And to be clear, this is not our analysis of what took place last night. National independent journalists

acknowledge what the police department did yesterday, and they were on the ground to see it.

And I want to be clear that we will continue to use this level of professionalism. And we saw the intersectionality of all the things we have

been working on. Drones allowed us to do a complete analysis of the Hamilton building and of the location, we were able to know how to

precisely go in and conduct the operation.

Making sure the encryption of our radios because they were not able to monitor and hear our deployment tactics, it allowed us to have the element

of surprise and we went on the ground training with our CRT team, precisionly knowing how to go in and conduct a professional operation. We

didn't wake up and executed the plan. This is a plan that has been put in place since January 2022.


When we understood our police department had to be prepared for uncertainties like this, and sort of requests we receive in writing could

not have been clearer. But those who broke into the building didn't close to this it was led by individuals who are not affiliated with the


They needed, the school needed the NYPD assistance to clear Hamilton Hall and the encampments outside a dual operation on the grounds that took place

successfully clearing the tents, taken back and reclaiming Hamilton Hall. And we said from the beginning, that students have a right to protest and

free speech is the cornerstone of our society.

But as our major concern, we knew and we saw that there were those who were never concerned about free speech, they were concerned about chaos. It was

about external actors hijacking. Peaceful protests in influence students to escalate. There's nothing peaceful about barricade and building, destroying

property, or dismantling security cameras.

We cannot allow what should be a lawful protest to turn into a violent spectacle that saves and serves no purpose as I said. There is no place for

acts of hate in our city, we made that clear. That's from anti-Semitism to Islamophobia, or to anti-Sikhism, and other communities as our AAPI

community, we have been consistent.

There is no place for hate in this city. And I wanted to continue to commend the professionalism of the police department. And to thank Columbia

University was a tough decision. We understood that, but with the very clear evidence of their observation, and the clear evidence from our

intelligence division, that they understood, it was time to move, and the action had to end.

And we brought it to a peaceful conclusion. And we're going to continue to coordinate with Columbia, as we have been from the -- and all of our

academic institutions to find a peaceful middle of allowing young people to protest without violence. We support the right of free speech and open

debate, laws protect the right to protest, but we must balance the right with keeping the students to school and our city safe.

And it is a combined effort, that we're going to continue to move in the right direction to accomplish this goal, we know that this is only a comma

in the full sentence of public protection in the city. This is not a celebratory moment. We should never have to have got here in the first


We can't create environment, while children can be endangered. And we must push back on all attempts to radicalize our young people in his city like

we're seeing across the entire globe. Commissioner, thank you for job, well done and turn it over to you at this time.

EDWARD A. CABAN, COMMISSIONER OF NEW YORK POLICE DEPARTMENT: And good morning. Thank you, Mayor Adams. Yesterday, the NYPD received written

notification from both Columbia University and the City College of New York. The situation on their campuses has deteriorated to a point where the

safety of their students, faculty, staff, and the public was at risk.

So last night, at both schools requests, the NYPD enter the campuses and remove protesters who refuse to leave the area. Approximately 300 arrests

were made with preliminary charges ranged from trespass to criminal mischief to burglary. At this point, we'll let the criminal justice system

play out.

But as we said last night, the universities worked for weeks to negotiate with the protesters to resolve the situation and to restore order on their

campuses. But once it became clear that public safety was a real concern, especially after the protests escalate the situation by breaking and

entering into a university building.

The NYPD was called in to do their job. I just want to say, to the men and women of this department. Thank you. To the terrorist attack of October 7,

the NYPD has responded to more than 2400 protests and demonstrations across the city, about 1100 those relate to situation Israel and Palestine.

And at every one, we've worked to keep protesters safe and protect their First Amendment Rights. At the same time, we've worked to keep our

residents and workforce safe. To make sure our neighborhoods have full access to emergency services and to keep life moving in the largest city in

the nation. This is an easy work, but no one does it better than the men and women of the NYPD.


Lastly, I want to thank the officials of both Columbia University and City College for their efforts with developing situation. They continue with an

open communication with everyone involved in the protests is to their students and staff to city officials, including the police department was

all about public safety.

That the end of the day. That's what we're focused on. Our job to keep people in our city safe and the NYPD is ready to do their job anywhere,

anytime we're called upon to try to lock us out with the NYPD and the people of the City of New York will never be locked out. And we will always

work together to keep our city safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got to take your questions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Commissioner, Mr. Mayor, I wonder if you could tell us how many of the people who were arrested both inside Hamilton Hall and

outside, we're not affiliated with the school. We're not students. We're outside agitators, both inside and outside. And I have a second question.

ADAMS: That got passed that question over to our --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, right now as it breaks down, we have 282 arrests. As of right now we have 282 arrests. 173 came from City College, 109 came from

Colombia. How it breaks down to your question, we'll have the answer sometime today. We haven't broken it down yet. But we will have that


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Give us any more details about the people who were not affiliated with them or were then -- what groups they were associated with.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- So there are a number of different individuals who we know from over the years associated with protests not just in our city,

but in other cities as well, who are linked to and who we see doing training around the change in tactics that we described yesterday.

And that we all witnessed the black bloc a tire, the breaking windows, breaking doors, the vandalism, property destruction, and the barricading

makeshift weapons that we recovered in the encampment. So that change in tactics combined with the presence of known individuals on campus, in the

lead up to what happened in Hamilton Hall, is why we had a real elevated concern around public safety.


ADAMS: And, you know -- you know, we know that it terminology of outside agitators was used during the Civil Rights Movement, and people attempted

to show that the movement was not legitimate. So we understand that. But this police department cannot be caught up on Western political correct


We have to be caught up on public safety. They were individuals on the campus should not have been there. They were people who are professionals.

And we saw evidence of training. We saw a shift in tactics that were being used. And when you start using the intelligence that Intel was able to

supply we knew was time to communicate directly with the school and say you have more than a peaceful protests on your hand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And, Mr. Mayor, if I can just add to that, just as the letter said that we received from Columbia. This was led by outside


ANDERSON: Well, you've been listening to Eric Adams, the Mayor of New York City and comment from the Commissioner of the New York Police Department

from Eric Adams and this on the demonstrations and the police operation on the Columbia campus last night to empty Hamilton Hall as it is known all

for people on campus.

And it was pretty violent scenes, if you witness them last night or you've seen them met here on CNN or on your social media. So, according to Mayor

Adams these protests have been co-opted by external actors who said who attempted to hijack what is a right to protest. This is a movement to

radicalize young people.

He said this is a global problem, said the mayor youngsters are being influenced by professionals who are trying to radicalize young people. And

both he and the Commissioner of the New York Police Department explained that at the request of Columbia and City College last night the NYPD

conducted as they describe it an operation to remove those radicals as he described them who have turned peaceful protests into chaos.


282 arrests, 173 of those arrests are from City College 109 are from Colombia. They described what they saw and the reason for the operation on

campus to be as a result of what they saw as a shift in tactics and the presence on campus of known agitators, as they have described them,

officers allowed.

They said a great deal of -- a great level of discipline to avoid this spiraling out of control. I was also interested just to hear Matt Adams

describe the sort of operation that was conducted. He said, and I quote him here we use the intersectionality of drones to observe what was going on,

on the campus encrypted radio training with CRT.

And the plan that was put in place after January 6th, 2022 to ensure that police have a plan at a time of chaos let's describe it or at a time that

they see fit to use this. So you've been listening to a press conference from the New York City Mayor alongside the New York Police Department

explaining the operation on Columbia campus last night.

The scenes of which were pretty startling to witness let's call it that. And those who were in Hamilton Hall and the police concede as the mayor

that there were students inside that hall, but they say the operation was to clear radicals or agitators as they described them professionals who are

trying to radicalize otherwise sort of innocent students just protesting.

Relating to you -- has just been said at a press conference by the New York City Mayor and the Commissioner of the NYPD more after this.


ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. I'm Becky Anderson for you. It is an historic shift in U.S. Drug Policy. The Biden Administration is moving to

reclassify marijuana as a low risk substance, a step that could loosen federal restrictions on the drug that had been in place for more than five


CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us now so Sanjay, your long history of reporting on the sort of the cannabis situation you've

got -- seven documentaries on this topic. What are you learning about the draft of this new rule?


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well you know this is a story that's been going on for some time, Becky. Back in October of 2022,

the White House basically directed health and human services in the United States to look into this idea of rescheduling cannabis.

And then it's gone through a process for some time. And now what we hear it's not done yet. But what we hear now is that the Drug Enforcement Agency

is specifically looking into that possibility. They still got to go through a formal process, but it looks like it's come along further than it ever

has before in terms of rescheduling.

Let me just explain this really quick if I can, Becky. Right now cannabis marijuana is scheduled as a schedule one substance, there are five

categories. This is the highest category considered the most dangerous category, basically saying, hey, this substance doesn't have an accepted

medical use. It has a high potential for abuse.

And there's concerns, real concerns about safety overall, that's where it is currently scheduled. And other examples are heroin and ecstasy, for

example that would fall into that category. What they're suggesting now Becky is that it become a schedule three substance so again, five


But this is the third category. And this case, they're saying less potential for abuse than other substances. But I think mostly what is

interesting about Schedule 3, is that they're acknowledging that there might be some medicinal benefit.

And that's really been the focus of our documentaries for a long time. And we've seen, you may remember, Becky Charlotte Figgy, this young girl who

had intractable epilepsy, nothing worked for her. She tried CBD oil, and she actually got relief from her seizures. So I think we've known for some

time, there is a legitimate medical benefit. But now I think the legislation is starting to catch up.

ANDERSON: It's always good to have you. This is a particularly important story and one that you have done some terrific reporting on. Those

documentaries are well worth a watch. Thank you, Sanjay, we will be back after this quick break, stay with us.


ANDERSON: Well, I just want to get you up to speed before we take a break at the top of the hour and get you back for the second hour of this show.

We just heard from the New York City Mayor on the NYPD the police operation now in Columbia to remove students and others from the building there.


Which scenes of which you may be aware of were pretty violent? The Mayor has said that the Columbia building braking was led by individuals and

affiliated with the university and that is why he said police moved in. They did so at the university's request.

And another New York official said nearly 300 were arrested between Columbia and another college City College. NYPD Deputy Commissioner says

that they face preliminary charges from trespassing, to criminal mischief nearly 300 to individuals arrested. Some students they believe some not

affiliated with either the college or the university. That is it for this hour stay with CNN we'll be back after this.