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Pro-Palestinian protesters arrested for blocking garage at MIT building

Police confront pro-Palestinian protesters at MIT
Police confront pro-Palestinian protesters at MIT 02:44

CAMBRIDGE - Several pro-Palestinian protesters who were blocking the garage entrance to an MIT research building in Cambridge were arrested on Thursday afternoon. Officers were seen forcibly removing some of the demonstrators from the in front the Stata Center on Vassar Street. 

The protesters were from a group that left their encampment on the MIT campus. MIT police arrested "fewer than ten individuals" the university said Thursday night. The MIT Graduate Student Union told WBZ nine of their members were arrested.

Cambridge police assisted MIT police, helping to keep the garage entrance clear.

"The MIT and Cambridge police were brutally shoving people to get them out of the way. They physically, really assaulted several students, several graduate students and undergrads," said demonstrator Daniel Shen.

The Stata Center is where protesters say drone research is done that benefits the Israeli military. For the last two weeks, demonstrators have been demanding the university cut all research ties with Israel. This week, after a largely peaceful protest, there have been several clashes with police.

MIT protest
Pro-Palestinian protest on Vassar Street in Cambridge near MIT building CBS Boston

"I think we're prepared to fight back because that's what we owe to people in Gaza, that's what we owe to the people of the world," Shen said.

Students suspended after protests   

Daniel Shen, a third-year graduate student, is among several who have now received suspensions, though he says this cause is greater.

"I think these are all choices we made to come out here to do what's morally right for MIT to not be complicit with the Israeli military," Shen said.

Senior Hannah Didehbani says she'd rather be facing suspension than attend her graduation.

"I'm not afraid because I know that we are fighting for a righteous cause. We are fighting end to a genocide and MIT's complicity in it," Didehbani said.

On Monday, MIT ordered an encampment on campus to be cleared after roughly three weeks. Protesters stormed the fencing surrounding it to reclaim their tents.

The students who received suspensions said the university gave them until May 15 to move out of their dorms.

The heavy police presence and arrests have not deterred the demonstrators who say they're in this for the long haul until the university negotiates with them.

Student says there is "anarchy" on campus

"The protesters just do whatever they please and then there is virtually no consequences," said Marilyn Meyers, a Jewish student at MIT.

Meyers is set to graduate in weeks. She says these protests have impacted her safety, ability to do schoolwork, and faith in MIT's leadership to get things under control.

"I don't think they have been strong enough," Meyers said. "I think they continue to back down in the face of the protesters and they give them more and more room to run with. They have allowed the protesters to make our campus into anarchy."  

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