A group of demonstrators at Columbia University say they were attacked with a stink bomb during a gathering in support of Palestinians amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.
The New York Police Department told ABC News there is a report on file for assault after the protesters said they smelled a foul odor and began to feel nauseous, accompanied by headaches, during a protest Friday. The victims refused medical attention at the scene, according to the NYPD.
No arrests have been made and the investigation remains ongoing, officials said.
The university’s Department of Public Safety is also investigating incidents in collaboration with local and federal authorities after several reports were filed in connection with Friday’s protest “that are of great concern,” according to a Columbia University spokesperson.
“While the investigation is proceeding, we continue to seek the university community’s support. Reporting is essential so that the proper authorities — including the NYPD — can track down the facts and take action as necessary,” the Columbia University department said Sunday.
The Department of Public Safety is urging people to come forward if they have any information.
Several of the protesters were from the groups Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace, according to posts from the groups on social media.
In a social media post, the Students for Justice in Palestine said “student protesters were sprayed by a chemical weapon” during a “pro-Palestine and anti-genocide” protest. They referred to the attack as a “hate crime” and said several students continued to experience burning eyes and nausea hours after the attack.
The two groups were suspended in November by the university for allegedly violating university policies for holding unauthorized events that “included threatening rhetoric and intimidation.” Their suspension caused outrage nationwide.
Colleges and universities across the United States have struggled to handle the ongoing debate over the Israel-Hamas war with pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli protests erupting on campuses and federal agencies launching investigations into possible discrimination at several institutions.
In the Gaza Strip, at least 25,105 people have been killed and 62,681 others have been injured since Oct. 7, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.
In Israel, at least 1,200 people, mostly civilians, have been killed and 6,900 others have been injured by the terrorist group Hamas and other Palestinian militants, according to the Israeli prime minister’s office.