Around 500 protesters supporting Palestine walked out of class and marched through multiple Harvard schools Thursday afternoon — the third protest on campus in support of Palestine following the start of the war in Israel and Gaza.
Organized by the Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee and Graduate Students 4 Palestine, the protest traveled across campus. While classes were in session, demonstrators marched through the Science Center, then through the Law School’s Caspersen Student Center and Wasserstein Hall, before marching through Harvard Square to protest in the Harvard Kennedy School courtyard.
Several protesters were holding noisemakers, including drumsticks and buckets. The demonstrators halted traffic on JFK Street for two traffic light cycles.
The protest was not originally intended to reach HLS and HKS, according to a PSC statement to The Crimson. The protesters were accompanied by a significant police presence, who were in communication with the PSC prior to the event.
The PSC has received nationwide backlash for an Oct. 8 statement originally signed by more than 30 student groups that held the Israeli government “entirely responsible” for the violence in the region. In the past week, pro-Palestine demonstrators held a rally that drew more than 1,000 people Saturday and a “die-in” attended by hundreds Wednesday.
A news helicopter hovered above the protesters for the second day in a row. After the event concluded, the PSC and GS4P announced plans for an additional protest Friday morning at Harvard Medical School’s Longwood campus.
Members of the PSC and other groups that originally signed the statement have been the target of a series of doxxing attacks, including a billboard truck — funded by conservative media watchdog Accuracy in Media — displaying the names and faces of students alleged to be linked to the groups.
The Guardian reported Monday that the largest donor of Accuracy in Media is the Informing America Foundation. The Informing America Foundation’s largest donor is the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation, whose namesake serves on the advisory board for Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies.
The truck was spotted on Harvard’s campus Thursday morning, and has frequently circled the College since its first appearance on campus last Wednesday.
When the protests stopped outside HKS, African and African American Resistance Organization co-founder Amari M. Butler ’25 addressed the crowd.
“You may recognize me from a certain vehicle that may or may not have been circling around Harvard Square recently,” Butler said.
Butler accused the University of not supporting doxxed students and said groups like Accuracy in Media have used “intimidation and scare tactics to instill fear in student leaders at the helm of the Palestine solidarity movement.”
Harvard spokesperson Jason A. Newton declined to comment on the doxxing of students, referring back to previous statements from administrators.
University President Claudine Gay and top Harvard officials released a series of statements following Hamas’ attack on Israel. In a video message, Gay defended students’ right to express their views, saying the University “rejects the harassment or intimidation of individuals based on their beliefs.”
Though the statements did not reference PSC by name, Gay has also distanced the University from the group’s statement, writing last week that “no student group — not even 30 student groups — speaks for Harvard University or its leadership.”
Multiple Harvard administrators have since addressed the doxxing of students in subsequent statements to individual schools. The University has also increased campus security.
Butler also encouraged protesters to sign an open letter written by Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, a national anti-war activist organization. The letter lists more than 50 initial signatories, including Harvard faculty members Vijay Iyer, Christopher F. Hasty, and John Womack Jr. ’59.
“We the undersigned stand with the courageous students at Harvard and elsewhere who are being attacked because they stand with the people of Palestine,” the letter reads.
At Thursday’s protest, speakers took aim at Harvard’s ties to Israel.
PSC organizers said the University has become complicit in “genocide” by investing in companies linked to Israeli settlements in Palestine. According to a 2020 analysis by The Crimson, the Harvard Management Company has invested more than $194 million into Brookings Holdings, a company with ties to Israeli settlements.
Newton declined to comment on Harvard’s financial ties to Israel.
As the demonstrators gathered outside the Kennedy School’s Wexner Building, a counter-protester drew Israeli flags and wrote “I stand with Israel” on the ground in chalk. Some protesters poured water over the chalk drawing as they walked past, though organizers subsequently warned protesters not to engage with the chalk or any counter-protesters.
Throughout the protest, demonstrators directed their chants toward Harvard administrators.
As Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana walked to his office in Harvard Yard, students not involved with the protest stopped him and requested a selfie. After Khurana posed in the selfie, the protesters entering the Yard began to shout at him.
“Dean Rakesh, we call on you to use your privilege. We call on you to use your position to free Palestine,” one protester said with a megaphone.
While Friday’s protest will be the third rally in three days held by the PSC, organizers declined to comment on how long the protests will continue.
—Staff writer Cam E. Kettles can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on X @cam_kettles.