New York City Democratic Mayor Eric Adams said Tuesday the escalation in violence stemming from the anti-Israel protests across the city is likely the work of “outside agitators.”

   Adams made the comments at his usual Tuesday press conference. Addressing the protests at Columbia University and New York University during the past few days, Adams blamed opportunists who “latch on” to protests with the intent of escalating, especially against police.

   “We can’t have outside agitators come in and be destructive to our city. Someone wanted something to happen at that protest at NYU,” Adams told reporters.

   “We strongly believe there are people who are here, who latch on to any protest. To see our police officers having bottles thrown at them — chairs; people who peacefully protest for an issue are not throwing bottles and shoes,” Adams said. “There are people who come, have nothing to do with the issue, and they want to aggravate.

   “I believe there’s a number of people who are really trying to use this as an opportunity to cause violence in our city.”

   The New York Police Department announced Tuesday that 133 people were taken into custody on Monday after the NYU protests. All but four were released with summonses for trespassing. Four were charged with resisting arrest and obstruction.

   That followed the weekend arrests of more than 100 demonstrators at Columbia University.

   NYU installed a plywood wall to block Gould Plaza, outside of the university’s Stern School of Business, staging area for Monday’s encampment and protests. The anti-Israel protesters then marched on NYPD headquarters after they were removed from the plaza.

   “There is a well-concerted organizing effort. And what’s the goal of that organizing? That’s what we need to ask ourselves,” Adams said.

   Adams on Monday condemned the antisemitism of the protesters, saying he was “horrified and disgusted.”

   Columbia classes were strictly virtual on Monday, the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Passover. The university announced Monday night that all classes would be hybrid through the end of the semester, and the school year.

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