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Boston, Cambridge-Area High School Students Block Mass. Ave. in Support of MIT Encampment

Cambridge Rindge and Latin School is located at 459 Broadway Court. CRLS students were among a group of high schoolers who blocked Massachusetts Avenue in front of MIT as part of a pro-Palestine protest.
Cambridge Rindge and Latin School is located at 459 Broadway Court. CRLS students were among a group of high schoolers who blocked Massachusetts Avenue in front of MIT as part of a pro-Palestine protest. By Truong L. Nguyen
By Asher J. Montgomery, Crimson Staff Writer

Approximately 50 student Boston-area high school students blocked Massachusetts Avenue in front of MIT on Monday afternoon for at least four hours as part of a pro-Palestine protest.

The demonstration — which began as a school walkout — called on MIT to divest from Israel but condoned President Sally A. Kornbluth’s decision to threaten suspension against MIT students who have maintained an encampment on campus for just over two weeks. The Cambridge Police Department shut down a portion of Massachusetts Ave. for four hours due to the protest.

According to an Instagram post from Boston Party from Socialism and Liberation, students from Cambridge Rindge and Latin, Boston Latin Academy, and Boston Latin School organized the walkout to join the encampment at MIT, which protesters have dubbed “Scientists Against Genocide.”

The high school students began by chanting on the steps of the building that houses MIT’s admissions office and information center before moving down to occupy the street below. Protesters sat down and blocked the lanes as organizers spoke and passed out pizza.

“As long as universities willingly choose to ignore the students’ demands for divestment, we will always be advocating,” one high school student organizer said in a speech. “Divest, and until then we will not rest.”

One student, who identified herself as Palestinian, thanked university students who had set up encampments and staged protests.

“I never could have imagined that anything like this, first of all, would have to be necessary,” she said, adding that “second of all, that we would see so many students willing to put their academics on the line for a cause larger than themselves.”

After the road blockage dispersed, a couple of the high school students joined the MIT encampments, according to an MIT organizer.

As the road was blocked off, hundreds of pro-Palestine protesters and pro-Israel counter protesters also gathered a few feet away, outside of the gated MIT encampment. At around 6 p.m. on Monday, pro-Palestinian protesters knocked down part of the chain link fence surrounding the MIT encampment.

Cambridge police officers and Special Emergency Response State police officers joined MIT police officers in monitoring the confrontation and separating pro-Palestine protesters and counter protesters. No arrests were made.

The protest and counter protest came just hours after MIT chancellor Melissa Nobles sent an email to MIT affiliates telling student protesters to either peacefully leave the encampment by 2:30 p.m. on Monday or face “immediate interim academic suspension.”

In an update email sent to MIT affiliates seven hours later, Kornbluth wrote that by the Monday deadline, only five protestors remained inside of the encampment.

“Around that time, a large number of outside demonstrators arrived, in part because of a call on social media to students in the area to join our students, and in part because of a planned public protest,” she wrote.

Though CPD reopened Mass. Ave. at around 8 p.m., approximately 150 protesters still remained on MIT’s campus an hour later, according to Kornbluth’s Monday evening email.

According to Kornbluth’s email, state and CPD officers remained on scene overnight to “preserve public safety.”

“We have much work still to do to resolve this situation, and will continue to communicate as needed,” Kornbluth wrote.

On Tuesday morning, the fallen part of the chain link fence was removed by MIT for safety, according to a MIT police officer.

MIT encampment protesters subsequently set up shorter barricades around the encampment in anticipation of an overnight raid that did not occur, according to an organizer. Some MIT students remain in the encampment, though the specific number is unknown.

—Staff writer Asher J. Montgomery can be reached at Follow her on X @asherjmont or on Threads @asher_montgomery.

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