Stephen Colbert Stands Up for College Gaza Protesters: ‘It’s Their First Amendment Right’ | Video

“College administrators are using the classic de-escalation tactic of sending in heavily armed police,” Colbert jokes on “The Late Show”

While still managing to find some humor in the whole thing, on Tuesday Stephen Colbert brought up the widespread protests against the war in Gaza at colleges across America during his monologue.

“The Late Show” host didn’t join the many media personalities condemning the students protesting, instead asserting that so long as they’re peaceful, “it’s their First Amendment right.” He did mock the way university leaders are handling the protests however, quipping that they are using the “classic de-escalation tactic of sending in heavily armed police.”

Across the country university leaders have started cracking down on student protests against the war in Gaza. They’ve fortunately ignored calls from right wing political and media figures to send in the military, but several universities have called in local police for reasons too different to sum up with accuracy. For instance on Tuesday, Columbia University set NYPD officers on a group of protesters who took over a building, citing disputed reports that a large number of the protesters weren’t actually students. Read more here.

“Of course, one of the biggest stories right now is the nationwide pro-Palestinian student protests around college campuses in the United States in what’s been called perhaps the most significant student movement since the anti-Vietnam campus protests of the late 1960s,” Colbert said as he reached the topic.

“They’re even bigger than the protests when I was in college in the 80s, when students held rallies declaring ‘I want my MTV’ and ‘Is this how you spell it Apartheid?’” he joked. “The protests ramped up a couple of weeks ago after students erected tents on the Columbia University’s main lawn to show solidarity with Gaza. The university president took the controversial step of calling the police to arrest those involved.”

“Now even if you don’t agree with the subject of their protests, as long as they are peaceful, students should be allowed to protest. It’s their first amendment right. That is the kind of idealism you learned in college, one of the few college lessons you can use your whole life. Unlike beer funneling, which you stop being able to do around 35, when your wife catches you,” Colbert joked.

“And it’s not just at Columbia. Yesterday, cops arrested at least 100 protesters at UT Austin. This morning they arrested at least 30 protesters at UNC Chapel Hill. Yes, college administrators are using the classic de-escalation tactic of sending in heavily armed police and threatening to call the National Guard,” Colbert continued.

“So police snipers set up on the roofs of buildings at Ohio State University and Indiana University. Although the Ohio State University administration stated that these were state police officers that the school also employees during football games. ‘What are you worrying about, students? The snipers are always there. For football games, women’s volleyball, acapella.”

Colbert then noted how “overnight, protesters in Colombia broke into a campus building, which probably will not help their cause. Also not helping Donald Trump. Last week, he weighed in on the protest outside of the Manhattan courtroom where he’s on trial.” At that, Colbert turned the subject to Trump, and how the disgraced former president claimed that the student protests are worse than the white supremacist riot at Charlottesville he inspired in 2017.

You can watch the whole thing above now.


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