The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

Hundreds gather to protest war in Gaza, allege university suppression of student speech

Quillan Anderson
A crowd with Palestinian flags and signs reading “End all U.S. aid to Israel” and “Stop bombing Palestine, Yemen, Syria and Lebanon” gather around a man playing a Ghanian drum. Hundreds gathered at Roxbury Crossing Sunday to protest Northeastern University and other colleges’ role in the Israel-Palestine war.

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered at Roxbury Crossing Sunday to protest the stifling of pro-Palestine student speech on Boston’s college campuses. The march closed parts of Tremont Street and Huntington Avenue from 2-4 p.m.

The demonstration was organized by the Boston Coalition for Palestine, or BCP, and promoted by Northeastern’s clubs as a “March for Palestine Against Warmakers at Northeastern University.” BCP comprises over 30 organizations across Boston, including Huskies for a Free Palestine, or HFP; Students for Justice in Palestine, or SJP; and Boston’s Party for Socialism and Liberation, or PSL.

The march started at Roxbury Crossing before going down Tremont Street and Huntington Avenue, ending in front of Northeastern’s Krentzman Quad. The group was escorted by two Boston Police Department officers clearing the roads ahead, followed by three SUVs and a police van. Northeastern University Police Department officers stood around the edges of campus with bikes and marked the line between public and private property. Demonstrators overtook the street and sidewalk, shutting down Huntington Avenue between Forsyth Street and Massachusetts Avenue for an hour.

Chants of “Drop the charges,” “Northeastern, you can’t hide, you’re supporting genocide” and “NUPD, KKK, IDF, you’re all the same” echoed throughout the quad. 

A speaker who identified themselves as a representative from the Northeastern chapter of SJP spoke about the group’s alleged suppression over the years, including when the university suspended the club for several months in 2014. 

Another speaker who identified themselves as a member of HFP discussed similar issues. HFP previously organized a sit-in Dec. 1 that resulted in consequences and disciplinary hearings for three involved students. The students were found responsible during their hearings and were put on deferred suspension.

The gathering at Roxbury Crossing opened with a demonstrator playing a drum and singing. The crowd sang along to the chorus of “Ella’s Song,” a song honoring Civil Rights activist Ella Baker commonly performed at protests.

A woman carries a sign with pro-Palestine messaging calling for a cease fire in Gaza. The march ended in front of Krentzman Quad where speakers criticized Northeastern’s ties to Israel and its punishment of student speech. (Quillan Anderson)

Along with the outpouring of support, a Palestinian student from Harvard, who identified herself as Leah, warned against the popularized “synthetic solidarity” based only on suffering. 

Leah asked attendees to reflect on their involvement with complicit institutions such as their workplaces, schools and communities. 

She highlighted the importance of a strategy referred to as BDS, which stands for boycott, divest and sanction, both at the institutional and personal levels. For her and many others at the march, this strategy is often used among student populations in Boston universities.

A representative of Boston’s PSL, who identified himself as Yaakov, spoke of the recently passed ceasefire resolutions in Somerville and Cambridge as proof that efforts to organize are working.

When the Cambridge resolution was introduced in November 2023, city councilors did not stand behind it. When PSL and other groups pushed back against the councils’ inaction, they were allegedly told to tone it down and stop disrupting operations.

“Now let the festivities actually begin,” organizers said as music played loudly, including “Dammi Falastini” by Mohammed Afsaasni and “Allah M7yeh Falastin” by Muhannad Khalaf. Demonstrators began to dance and sing along, integrating a celebration of Palestinian culture and livelihood into the event.

Editor’s Note: This story was updated at around 11:00 p.m. Feb. 12 to remove quotes of speakers at the rally whose identities could not be confirmed. 

About the Contributor
Quillan Anderson, Photo Editor
Quillan Anderson is a fourth-year journalism and political science student with a minor in photojournalism and working on her MS in media advocacy. This is her second semester as photo editor at the News, and she has previously served as deputy photo editor.
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