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Last Updated on April 25, 2024 by Robert C. Hoopes

Pro-Palestine Activists Set Up Encampment in Harvard Yard

In a bold display of protest, pro-Palestine organizers began an encampment in Harvard Yard on Wednesday to voice their discontent over the suspension of the Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee. The protesters are demanding that the University divest from Israel’s war in Gaza, making it the largest protest on Harvard’s campus since the resignation of former President Claudine Gay in January.

Despite the University restricting access to the Yard to Harvard ID holders in anticipation of pro-Palestine protests, a smaller group of students managed to set up about 13 tents as hundreds rallied in support in front of the John Harvard statue. Signs were posted informing students about potential disciplinary action for setting up tents without permission.

Harvard officials have remained opposed to calls for boycotting Israel, leading to heightened tensions between the protesters and the administration. Harvard police have been monitoring the encampment closely, while organizers have instructed students to not engage with the officials.

A security threat arose when sprinklers turned on near the encampment, however, protesters handled the situation peacefully by covering the sprinklers. Despite criticism from Harvard Chabad and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who labeled the protesters as “Jew haters and Hamas lovers,” the students vowed to stay the night in the encampment, organized in teams based on risk scale.

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The protest has drawn attention from various groups, including activists, alumni, faculty, and staff members, with participants engaging in chants and teach-ins while preparing for potential adverse weather conditions. The students remain committed to their cause, despite the potential disciplinary actions they may face from Harvard.

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