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Pro-Palestine Organizers Slam Harvard’s ‘Repression’ of Student Protest in Sunday Rally

More than 200 people attended a pro-Palestine rally on Sunday, marching from Cambridge Common to Senator Elizabeth Warren's home, demanding for her to vote against U.S. military aid to Israel.
More than 200 people attended a pro-Palestine rally on Sunday, marching from Cambridge Common to Senator Elizabeth Warren's home, demanding for her to vote against U.S. military aid to Israel. By Frank S. Zhou
By Michelle N. Amponsah and Azusa M. Lippit, Crimson Staff Writers

Harvard pro-Palestine organizers slammed the University’s “repression” of student activism during a rally in Cambridge Common demanding U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) vote against U.S. military aid to Israel.

The protest — the second large-scale pro-Palestine demonstration of the spring semester — comes as Harvard leadership has taken a more hardline stance toward campus protests.

On Jan. 19, interim Harvard President Alan M. Garber ’76 and other top administrators sent a Harvard-wide email warning student protesters that they were forbidden from blocking movement to and from “campus buildings, classrooms, administrative offices, or other spaces.”

In a speech at the Sunday rally, Kojo Acheampong ’26, a co-founder of the African and African American Resistance Organization, criticized the University’s attempts to regulate protest.

“Me, along with a couple of my comrades over at Harvard, have faced repression,” Acheampong said. “We’ve seen what it’s like. We’ve seen what the University tries to do to stop a movement.”

More than 200 people attended the rally, which was organized by advocacy groups including AFRO, the Harvard Graduate Students for Palestine, and the Boston Party for Socialism and Liberation. The event began in Cambridge Common before protesters marched to Warren’s home in Cambridge.

The protest marks the second large-scale pro-Palestine demonstration of the spring semester.
The protest marks the second large-scale pro-Palestine demonstration of the spring semester. By Frank S. Zhou

Though the Harvard University Palestine Solidarity Committee did not officially organize the event, they circulated an email on student mailing lists advertising a protest at the same time and location demanding Harvard “divest from all investments, both implicitly and explicitly, fueling occupation” by Israel.

Per Harvard policy, the PSC, an officially recognized student group, is forbidden from co-organizing on-campus events with unrecognized groups, which include AFRO, GS4P, and Harvard Jews for Palestine.

In a Friday Instagram post with the heading “Fuck Institutional Repression,” the PSC denounced “ridiculous protest policies” and the use of institutional protest guidelines to repress pro-Palestinian speech on Harvard’s campus.

“PSC is under intense, disproportionate and frankly, racist scrutiny from the Harvard administration,” the post reads.

A Harvard spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

Unrecognized protest groups increasingly led pro-Palestine demonstrations last fall, including a 24-hour occupation of University Hall by Harvard Jews for Palestine. Several students involved in the occupation faced disciplinary action by the Administrative Board.

Acheampong and three other undergraduates were also disciplined by the Administrative Board — chaired by Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana — following their involvement in a pro-Palestine “week of action” last November.

“I think, as we all have seen, in the recent administration statements there has been continued crackdown and pressure on student organizers on Harvard’s campus,” a PSC organizer said in an interview with The Crimson. “But we will continue to be active on campus and present a wide variety of ways to mobilize Palestine.”

Protesters hold posters drawn as checks made out to "The Israeli Apartheid State" for "Genocide Against the Palestinian People." Chants such as "No more money for Israel's crimes!" and "Warren, Warren you can't hide..." are written in red letters over the checks.
Protesters hold posters drawn as checks made out to "The Israeli Apartheid State" for "Genocide Against the Palestinian People." Chants such as "No more money for Israel's crimes!" and "Warren, Warren you can't hide..." are written in red letters over the checks. By Frank S. Zhou

During the rally, protesters called on Warren, a professor emerita at Harvard Law School, to condemn suppression of student activism on college campuses.

They also criticized her support of a $95 billion emergency spending package currently being considered by the Senate. The bill would provide military aid to Ukraine and Israel and also humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza if passed.

Demonstrators demanded Warren vote “no” on any American aid to Israel and stop accepting donations from “Zionist donors.”

“Warren, Warren, you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide,” the demonstrators chanted. “Warren, Warren, you’re a liar, we demand a ceasefire.”

A spokesperson for Warren did not respond to a request for comment.

In an interview after the rally, Acheampong said the event had “a critical mass of people” and promised that activism would continue throughout the semester.

“We’re about to enter the fourth week of school, and we’re coming strong,” he said.

—Staff writer Michelle N. Amponsah can be reached at michelle.amponsah@thecrimson.com. Follow her on X at @mnamponsah.

—Staff writer Azusa M. Lippit can be reached at azusa.lippit@thecrimson.com. Follow her on X @azusalippit or on Threads @azusalippit.

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Student GroupsStudent LifePoliticsProtestsElizabeth WarrenState PoliticsCollege NewsFront Middle FeatureFeatured ArticlesIsrael Palestine

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