More than 100 people arrested, 4 officers injured as police break up Emerson College encampment

BOSTON — More than 100 people were arrested and four officers suffered injuries after Boston police clashed with protesters and tore down an encampment protesting the war in Gaza on the campus of Emerson College, authorities said.

Students had set up the encampment in the Boylston Place alley and dozens of armed officers were seen dispersing crowds as a Boston Public Works crew cleared signs, tents, and garbage early Thursday morning.

A Boston Police Department spokesperson confirmed to Boston 25 News that 108 total arrests were made. As police worked to clear the encampment, three officers suffered minor injuries, while one officer suffered serious injuries.

All of those who were arrested are expected to be arraigned Thursday in Boston Municipal Court.

Emerson President Jay Bernhard canceled classes for Thursday as the university “processes” and “responds to” the events.

Emerson College warned students Wednesday that they could be subject to “imminent law enforcement action” as Boston city leaders said the tents were violating city code, becoming a fire hazard with students blocking doors, hydrants, and access to buildings.

Emerson also clarified that the alley is not solely owned by the college and has a public right-of-way under the jurisdiction of the Boston Police Department.

Dramatic video shows the moments that the protesters clashed with police after lining up and locking arms in the alleyway.

“Protest is a central part of Boston’s history, including political expression and activism at local colleges and universities,” said Carol Rose, Executive Director of the ACLU of Massachusetts. “From large demonstrations against the Vietnam War to ongoing demonstrations related to the conflict in Israel and Palestine, such student advocacy plays an essential role in academic communities and our democracy.”

Protesters were seen in zip-tie handcuffs being led into awaiting police vehicles after officers were able to subdue the crowd.

“Last night’s police response to demonstrations at Emerson College risked the safety and well-being of all in the area, Rose added. “While authorities may enforce reasonable restrictions to ensure access to public ways and to avoid disruption to school activities and services, we are concerned that campuses and law enforcement nationwide are increasingly cracking down on political expression, rushing in police to arrest protestors and authorizing aggressive treatment.”

The students had made it clear on Wednesday that they planned to stay until their demands were met or they were forcibly dragged out.

The encampment was to show solidarity with pro-Palestinian students arrested at other universities and they were calling for a ceasefire.

Their demands to the school also included disclosing all financial investments and connections to Israel, divesting from those entities, and dropping any academic disciplinary charges on these students.

Boston 25 has reached out to Emerson and Mayor Michelle Wu’s office for comment on the arrests.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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