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Emerson College Pro-Palestinian student protests violating Boston ordinances, school says

Pro-Palestinian students camping in Boston plan to stay as long as necessary
Pro-Palestinian students camping in Boston plan to stay as long as necessary 02:38

BOSTON – Emerson College informed pro-Palestine student protesters that the small tent city they created in an alley near campus is violating City of Boston ordinances.

Students set up tents in the alley off of Boylston Street earlier this week. They told WBZ-TV they want the college to support "Palestinian liberation."

Students for Justice in Palestine

According to Emerson College president Jay Bernhard, the students are part of a nonaffiliated group called Students for Justice in Palestine.

On Wednesday, Bernhard and other campus administrators wrote a letter to the campus community.

"Consistent with Emerson's values and as a matter of principle, we support our community's right to express their views through protest. However, they must do so in a manner consistent with the laws of the City of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts," the letter said. "Our utmost priority is the safety and welfare of our community, and we are deeply concerned that the protesters are risking legal consequences beyond Emerson's control when they do not abide by city and state laws."

Tents in Boylston Place Alley 

The Boylston Place Alley is not solely owned by Emerson, and includes a public right-of-way.

Emerson College officials said the Boston Police Department and Boston Fire Department commissioners told them Wednesday that some of the protesters' actions are "in direct violation" of city ordinances.

What violations are protesters committing?  

The city does not allow tents in public right-of-ways. Boston officials also expressed concerns about blocking pedestrian access to the alley, public noise violations, and blocking doors and fire hydrants.

"We strongly urge the protestors and their supporters to immediately comply with these laws to avoid legal consequences beyond the College's authority or control," Emerson said in a statement.

Similar protests have been taking place MIT, Tufts, and a newly formed encampment at Harvard.

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