Protesters blocked Mass. Ave. at rush hour

The Independent

Around 8 p.m., police told high school students who were blocking Massachusetts Avenue that the street was going to be re-opened to traffic.
By 8:15 p.m., cars were back on that stretch of the thoroughfare.
Around 8:30 p.m., Christian Cmehil-Warn, a 26-year-old MIT graduate student, indicated that the immediate future of the encampment was unclear.
Around 6:30 p.m., hundreds of people stood on the lawn outside Kresge Auditorium.
With their arms linked, protesters encircled the site of the encampment holding Palestinian flags and homemade signs.
MIT protesters established their encampment about two weeks ago.
At about 2 p.m. Monday, MIT police were not allowing anyone to enter the encampment, and students could be seen clearing out belongings.
”They’re not letting MIT students or anyone with an MIT ID in, and they’re not letting legal observers in,” said Dinis, 24.


The protesters had destroyed the tall, opaque fence the university had used to enclose the area, and about 25 tents and hundreds of supporters of the demonstrators remained as of Monday night, suggesting that the university’s efforts to dismantle the encampment had stalled.

An MIT spokesperson reported that there were no arrests made on campus on Monday.

around 8 p.m. me. police announced that traffic on Massachusetts Avenue would resume after speaking with high school students who had been obstructing the route. Several of the demonstrators began to depart. At 8:15 p.m. M. vehicles had returned to that section of the road.

Approximately 8:30 p.m. me. The short-term future of the encampment was described as uncertain by 26-year-old MIT graduate student Christian Cmehil-Warn.

He acknowledged that there isn’t much concrete information yet clarified that the students have no intention of leaving.

“We have much work still to do to resolve the situation, and will continue to communicate as needed,” Kornbluth stated in a Monday night community update. “.

In response to the deadline, the protest leaders and their supporters called an emergency rally, which resulted in a sizable and boisterous gathering outside the fenced-in encampment earlier in the afternoon. In an effort to keep those who had left the camp on Kresge Lawn, which is off Massachusetts Avenue and close to the Charles River, from returning, uniformed policemen shoved and yelled at some of the protesters.

“MIT your hands are red!” shouted hundreds of demonstrators as they passed by. On the other side of the walkway, dozens of pro-Israel counterprotesters waved Israeli and American flags, carried the ubiquitous “kidnapped” posters featuring hostage photos, and sang Israel’s national anthem, Hatikvah. The two sides were separated by a row of State Police troopers and several metal barricades.

In an attempt to briefly seize control of Lobby 7, the tall main entrance to the university, a group of pro-Palestinian demonstrators were quickly escorted out by police. Later, a group of more than a hundred high school students staged a prearranged, hour-long blockade of Massachusetts Avenue, which passes through the campus. The students had first demonstrated on Boston Common and then continued their protest to MIT.

about 6:30 p.m. me. on the lawn outside Kresge Auditorium, hundreds of people were present. With their arms linked, protesters encircled the site of the encampment holding Palestinian flags and homemade signs. There were numerous police officers in uniform, indicating the size of the police presence. Speaking into a microphone, protestors took turns drawing cheers from the audience.

In recent weeks, pro-Palestinian demonstrations against the ongoing conflict in Gaza have shaken campuses across the nation. Since the war started on October 22, when Hamas launched an attack, more than 34,000 people have been killed by Israeli forces, the local health ministry reported. which claimed roughly 250 hostages and killed about 1,200 people, the most of whom were civilians.

The MIT demonstrators set up their camp approximately a fortnight ago. Their main demand was that MIT sever its research connections to the Israeli army. About 30 tents were set up for the protest, and about 100 students took part in daytime protests and a smaller number camped out overnight. Administrators attempted to have a “serious good-faith discussion” with protesters, but Kornbluth stated in her Monday letter to the community that the discussions had not gone well.

Flyers outlining the options available to them and the possible consequences of staying in the encampment were given to protesting students early in the afternoon. One of the consequences, academic suspension, would prevent the student from taking part in any academic activities for the rest of the semester, including classes, exams, and research.

Around 2:00 p.m. M. Students could be seen packing up their belongings on Monday while MIT police forbade anyone from entering the encampment.

Along with a small group of other protestors who had not been inside the encampment when the eviction letters were distributed, Baltasar Dinis, a first-year graduate student who has been sleeping in the encampment for more than two weeks, stood outside the Stratton Student Center.

“They are not allowing legal observers to enter, nor are they allowing MIT students or anyone with an MIT ID to enter,” Dinis, 24, claimed. “Which is concerning, because if anything goes down, there’s no one inside that can verify what’s going on. “.

Dinis remarked, “It just seems like another tactic to oppress protesting students who are just doing what is morally required to stop a genocide from happening.”.

about 2:30 p.m. me. MIT professor Tanalís Padilla teaches Latin American history. He and other members of the Alliance of Concerned Faculty, a group of about 50 academics who “stand in solidarity” with student protestors, stood next to the encampment.

“MIT wasn’t able to reach a consensus that would at least acknowledge the students and what they’re fighting for, and I’m really disappointed in that,” Padilla expressed. “I’ve noticed the students’ discipline, inclusivity, and amount of work here. De-escalating even minor provocations has been accomplished through their diligent work. “.

Ever since the encampment was set up, Padilla has been there nonstop, and she claimed that when eviction letters were given to protesters, she went outside to use the restroom. Padilla claimed that the police would not let her back into the camp.

As he observed the crowd gathering close to the encampment, Eitan Moore, co-president of the MIT Israel Alliance, declared that it was “time that MIT enforces its policies.”.

He declared, “This group has been occupying this encampment illegally for a while and preventing us from enjoying the campus center.”.

Moore said that there was going to be an Israel Independence Day celebration at the location of the encampment on Tuesday.

He said, “It’s surprising that such an antiwar, pro-peace group would have such extreme chants.”.

He called forthright and antisemitic chants such as “Down with the Zionists” and “Globalize the Intifada.”.

Members of the MIT faculty and administration “have engaged in extensive conversation with these students and have not interfered as they have continued their protest,” according to Kornbluth’s letter. “.

“But in light of the events of the last few days, I have to act to put an end to a situation that has plagued our campus for over two weeks,” she said.

Kornbluth stated that there is a genuine chance for violence, citing violent disturbances at other campuses around the country. She claimed that on Monday afternoon, a disruption on campus was being planned by a “outside group.”.

Days before violent protests on MIT’s campus came to an end, the university issued an ultimatum. A pro-Israel demonstration took place at 77 Massachusetts Ave. on Friday. , which is across the street and about a football field away from the pro-Palestinian encampment.

Protesters at the pro-Israel gathering issued a warning against what they perceived as an increase in antisemitism on college campuses. The pro-Palestinian camp that was set up last month on the Kresge Lawn, directly across Massachusetts Avenue from them, was met with criticism that the university was treating it unfairly. They also made a strong plea for the release of the hostages that Hamas was holding.

In contrast to many campus protests that have taken place in other parts of the country in recent weeks, Friday’s afternoon went by peacefully despite brief instances of hostility and verbal altercations between the two groups.

A police raid at Columbia University in New York last week resulted in the arrest of over 100 people. At least 200 protestors were taken into custody on Thursday after police broke up a group of demonstrators at the University of California, Los Angeles, after hundreds of them disobeyed orders to leave.

Student camps at Northeastern University and Emerson College in Boston were cleared out recently, and many students were taken into custody.

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