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Northeastern University pro-Palestinian student protest sees large police response

Police monitor pro-Palestinian protest at Northeastern University
Police monitor pro-Palestinian protest at Northeastern University 02:46

BOSTON - There was a large police response Thursday at Northeastern University, the latest college campus in Massachusetts to see pro-Palestinian student protests. 

Dozens of protesters formed a circle, linking arms around a tent encampment on Centennial Common set up to protest the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza. At about 2:30 p.m., police carrying zip-tie handcuffs moved in closer to the demonstration. Boston police officers eventually left the area by about 3 p.m. but it is unclear why.  

Students told WBZ-TV that they were being asked to show their college identification or face removal from the campus. The group did not comply. 

Students refused to talk to WBZ but chanted phrases like "free Palestine", "don't talk to police" and "who do you serve?"

Students are being supported by Northeastern faculty and professors encouraging what they say is their right to protest.

"They're calling for peace, a ceasefire, an end to the violence. We want to make sure that those students' voices are heard," Northeastern professor Matthew Noah Smith said. "And we as professors have a responsibility to look after our students' welfare."  

Northeastern Jewish community calls for action

"Where I'm most upset is the professors standing over there," said Matthew Garchik with Huskies for Israel, Northeastern. "Their shirts say something like the faculty we support our students. Not the students that walk around making themselves obviously Jewish day after day."

Israeli students and members of the Northeastern Jewish community are not happy with what they call misinformed messaging, asking police to do more.

Northeastern Palestinian protest
Police watch as pro-Palestinian protesters create a human chain around an encampment set up at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images

"A lot of my fear peers rightfully so are extremely fearful," Garchik said. "If it were up to me, everyone would have been told to leave disperse or be arrested."

Protests are continued into the evening hours at Northeastern and demonstrators tell WBZ they have no plans to leave anytime soon.

WBZ did reach out to Northeastern for an official comment but did not immediately hear back.  

Latest protest on college campus in Massachusetts

Early on Thursday morning, Boston police broke up an encampment at Emerson College. Police said 108 protesters were arrested and four officers were hurt. 

Other student protests inspired by Columbia University this week have emerged at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University and Tufts University. 

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