Mayor Adams spoke forcefully Wednesday morning about how professional agitators escalated the protests at Columbia University and CUNY and the importance of putting the American flag back up. Excerpt of his remarks:

When I first started seeing protests take place in the city, it just did not feel right.

I saw 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 I know that there are those who are tempted to say, well, the majority of people may have been students.

You don’t have to be the majority to influence and co-op an operation.

That is what this is about.

So you want to play the word police? You could do so.

I want to play the New York City police, they’re going to protect our city from those who are tempted 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.

. . . These external actors have 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 bottles, 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 we pointed out yesterday, they are attempting to disrupt our city and we are not going to permit it to happen.

We’re proud to say they have been removed from the campus.

. . . Those who broke into the building did include students. It was led by individuals who are not affiliated with the university.

The school needed the NYPD assistance to clear Hamilton Hall and the encampments outside the dual operation on the grounds that took place successfully clearing the tents, taking back and reclaiming him to Hamilton Hall.

We said from the beginning, 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 they were those who were never concerned about free speech, they were concerned about chaos.

It was about external actors hijacking peaceful protests and influence students to escalate.

There’s nothing peaceful about barricade buildings and destroying property or dismantle dismantling security cameras.

We cannot allow what should be lawful protest to turn into a violent spectacle that serves no purpose.

There’s no place for acts of hate in our city. We made that clear. That’s from anti-semitism to Islamophobia to anti-Sikhism, and other communities, such as AAPI community, we have been consistent: There is no place for hate in his city.

. . . This is not a celebratory moment. We should never have had to have get here in the first place. We can’t create environments where 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.

[Adams points out when the police took down the Palestinian flag and put back up the American flag].

That’s our flag, folks. You don’t take over our buildings and put another flag up. It may be fine to other people, but it’s not to me.

My uncle died defending this country, and these men and women put their lives on the line. It’s despicable that schools will allow another country’s flag to fly in our country.

So blame me for being proud to be an American. I thank [the NYPD] for putting that flag back up. We are not surrendering our way of life to anyone.

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