BOSTON (WHDH) - Pro-Palestinian protesters remained on the Northeastern University campus in Boston Friday, occupying a tent encampment on the university’s main quad less than a day after a tense standoff with police. 

Protesters began gathering Thursday in solidarity with the people of Gaza. Officers asked students to leave. Students responded, saying they are fighting for free speech as they call for a ceasefire in Gaza.

“It’s applying pressure towards the politicians and the places it needs to apply pressure to in order to enforce a ceasefire,” said Chris Black, a pro-Palestinian supporter.

Near 2:45 p.m. Thursday, Boston Police in riot gear surrounded the demonstration. With neither protestors nor police showing signs of backing down, and with a crowd of spectators looking on, police pulled back. 

“It’s a symptom of a really rotten system where police in riot gear are coming after unarmed students,” one person on the quad told 7NEWS.

Boston Police said they were called in at the request of Northeastern University Police. Police said they had no plans to break up the encampment as of Thursday afternoon and said Northeastern Police were leading the law enforcement response. Boston Police said the Northeastern Police Department will make any decision on whether to break up the camp.

While the protest continued, pro-Israel supporter Matthew Garchik shared his thoughts. 

“When I’m walking around, just some Jew, they yell at me, ‘Free Palestine,’ and I go, ‘What am I going to do? You can free Palestine as much as I can,” Garchik said.

More people marched to Northeastern’s campus to join the encampment Thursday night. Come Friday morning, some protestors at the encampment sat outside their tents while others mingled in the area. 

Police were on scene throughout the morning, with Northeastern police officers and state troopers spotted at Northeastern. While visible, the police presence was more laid back than the one seen Thursday afternoon when Boston Police were in the area.

Near 12 p.m., SKY7-HD spotted students still camped out on the quad.

“People are excited,” one protester said. “There’s a lot of community spirit.”

“We’re happy to be here and we’re waiting for Northeastern to meet our demands,” the same person said.

The encampment at Northeastern is part of a larger wave of demonstrations sweeping college campuses across the US in recent weeks. Locally, protestors have set up other encampments on the campuses of MIT, Emerson College, Harvard University and Tufts University. 

At Emerson, police moved in Thursday morning making more than 100 arrests after asking protesters to leave a city-owned alley between the Massachusetts Transportation Building and several Emerson buildings.

(Copyright (c) 2024 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox