CAMBRIDGE, MASS. (WHDH) - Protesters at MIT and Harvard University hunkered down Tuesday, one day after demonstrators tore down barricades around a pro-Palestinian encampment at MIT. 

Administrators at both universities have threatened consequences for protesters still involved in encampments.

Still gathered outside Kresge Auditorium, protesters said they have no plans to move. 

“This is an act of civil disobedience,” said Baltissar Dinis. “We are not here because we want to. We are here because we feel a moral obligation to do so.”

“Our plans for dispersing are simple,” Baltissar continued. “If admin stops and breaks the ties with the Israeli Ministry of Defense and stops making killer drones for the Israeli military forces, we are happy and we would love to disband.”

Pro-Israel supporters were also out on the MIT campus on Tuesday, celebrating Israel’s independence day by planting flags and signs near the pro-Palestinian encampment. Speaking with 7NEWS, supporters said it is important for their message to be heard, as well. 

“We saw last night that things can turn extremely nasty very quickly and we’re concerned that it will turn violent at any moment,” said pro-Israel supporter Andrew Weinfeld. 

MIT President Sally Kornbluth addressed the campus community in a message Monday. After weeks of protests, Kornbluth said “increasing concern for the safety of our community” prompted a “new sense of urgency.” 

Kornbluth said students were asked to leave their encampment on Kresge Lawn by 2:30 p.m. on Monday. Those who did not leave could face suspensions, depending on their level of involvement in the demonstration, according to a separate letter to students from MIT Chancellor Melissa Nobles.

While some protesters left the MIT encampment before the 2:30 p.m. deadline, others stayed in place. They were soon joined by the protesters who pushed past barricades and formed a human chain to reclaim the encampment.

Elsewhere, another group of protesters blocked traffic on Massachusetts Avenue at rush hour. A much smaller group of counter-protesters also showed up. 

State and local police surrounded the encampment demonstration but remained on the outskirts. 

On Tuesday morning, a Cambridge police spokesperson addressed the department’s role in Monday’s events.

“We would not be regularly patrolling on campuses because the schools have their own police departments,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “We do work closely with them and if assistance is ever needed, we would provide help.”

The spokesperson said Monday “was an example of when CPD would assist campus police department because the event became so large and was on the public way and part of the campus.”

Harvard interim president says encampment must end

Protesters at MIT are calling on the university to cut its research ties with the Israeli Ministry of Defense. 

At Harvard, a separate encampment has stayed in place since April 25.

After other measures in recent weeks, Harvard Interim President Alan Garber said the encampment needs to end. 

“The right to free speech, including protest and dissent, is vital to the work of the research university,” he said in a letter to the campus community on Monday. “But it is not unlimited.”

“The encampment favors the voices of a few over the rights of many who have experienced disruption in how they learn and work at a critical time of the semester,” Garber said. “I call on those participating in the encampment to end the occupation of Harvard Yard.”

With commencement activities approaching, Garber said campus officials started delivering disciplinary notices to students in the encampment last week. 

In his message about the encampment, Garber said “Those who participate in or perpetuate its continuation will be referred for involuntary leave from their Schools.” 

“Among other implications, students placed on involuntary leave may not be able to sit for exams, may not continue to reside in Harvard housing, and must cease to be present on campus until reinstated,” Garber said.

Protests in the Boston area come amid a larger wave of pro-Palestinian protests at colleges across the country. Some protests have led to arrests and clashes with counter-protesters. Others have stayed peaceful.

In Gaza, the war between Israel and Hamas has escalated in recent days, with Israeli tanks moving in on the city of Rafah after dropping airstrikes on Monday.

New developments in the war came after Hamas on Monday said it accepted a proposed ceasefire brokered by Egyptian and Qatari officials. Israeli officials said the deal fell short of their core demands and said the Israeli military would be pushing ahead with operations in Rafah while negotiations continue, the Associated Press reported.

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