Stephen Colbert defends pro-Palestine college campus demonstrators after Trump attack

Stephen Colbert has defended pro-Palestine campus protesters days after Donald Trump tried to claim that they make the 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville look tame.

The Late Show host, 59, spoke in solidarity with the protesters – who have gathered to urge their institutions to vocally condemn the war in Gaza.

Colbert’s chat show aired as riot police were deployed at Columbia University’s Hamilton Hall. Dozens of pro-Palestinian student protesters were arrested after they occupied the building.

Just hours after the programme aired, violence broke out at the University of California campus in Los Angeles (UCLA) in the early hours of Wednesday morning, with the university’s vice chancellor, Mary Osako, stating she was “sickened” by the “horrific acts of violence”.

Three miles away from Hamilton Hall at the Ed Sullivan Theater, Colbert spoke in solidarity with the pro-Palestinan students, claiming it was their First Amendment right to demonstrate. He did, however, name a caveat in order to solidify his own support: protests have to remain peaceful.

NYPD officers raid pro-Palestinian encampment at Columbia University (Marco Postigo Storel)
NYPD officers raid pro-Palestinian encampment at Columbia University (Marco Postigo Storel)

Colbert shared his disdain to the way both senior staff and the authorities handled the events that unfolded at Columbia University. He claimed that “college administrators are using the classic de-escalation tactic of sending in heavily armed police and threatening to call the National Guard”.

“Now even if you don’t agree with the subject of their protests, as long as they are peaceful, subjects should be allowed to protest,” he added.

Adversely, Donald Trump praised the NYPD’s swift repsonse to the Columbia University protests, noting that brazen officers climbed through windows in order to restore order.

“I think New York City’s finest have been incredible the way they’ve been — it’s not over yet — but the way they walked in and the way they climbed through that window. They were not afraid of anything,” Trump said on Fox News on Tuesday evening.

Colbert also addressed former US president Donald Trump’s comments after he claimed that the deadly 2017 rally in Charlottesville, Virginia was a “little peanut” and “nothing” when compared to the campus protests.

The Late Show host said: “Now, before you criticise Trump for downplaying one of the darkest chapters in American history as a ‘little peanut,’ I will remind you of this disturbing image from Charlottesville that day.”

The show to cut to a shot of food mascot Mr Peanut superimposed onto a picture frim Charlottesville.