Christina Lee, Photography Editor

Around 50 protesters were forced to disperse a Monday night pro-Palestinian demonstration on Beinecke Plaza under threat of police citation by Yale administrators, who did not provide a reason or cite a policy for the dispersal.

“I was disappointed,” Eli Osei ’26 told the News regarding the forced removal. “One would expect the university one attends to have the students’ best interests in hand, but it seems as though Yale doesn’t.” 

The demonstration began when approximately 25 students gathered on the steps of Beinecke Plaza in front of the Schwarzman Center at 7:30 p.m. on Monday to recite the Maghrib –– the Muslim evening prayer service –– while roughly 75 other students remained from the protest earlier in the day.

The prayer service capped an eventful day of demonstrations on Yale’s campus. Earlier in the day, a bookshelf erected by pro-Palestine protesters stood on the steps to the Schwarzman Center from around noon to 1 p.m. before being disassembled by facilities workers as students chanted in support of Palestine. Separately, a group of 14 students entered the third day of an ongoing hunger strike to protest the University’s investment in weapons manufacturers.

Following the evening prayer, demonstrators sat and listened to an imam recite an additional prayer for those affected by Israel’s ongoing war against Hamas in Gaza.

“Oh Allah, we ask you to protect all the children being pulled out of the rubble in Gaza, protect the fathers and mothers and give them a swift victory over their oppressors,” the imam said. “We ask you to free the masjid Al Aqsa in our lifetime, to guide us in all our actions to have a free Palestine.”

On Oct. 7, Hamas launched an attack on Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking more than 250 people as hostages. In response, Israel declared war on Hamas and launched a military offensive in Gaza. Israel’s bombardments and ground offensives have killed more than 33,700 Palestinians in Gaza, the Associated Press reported on April 15 based on estimates from the Gaza Health Ministry. According to Israel, Hamas currently holds 133 hostages, of whom 36 are confirmed dead. 

The demonstrations come on the first day of Yale’s annual Bulldogs Days, a multi-day event that hosts admitted students on campus.

At least 60 demonstrators remained to sing songs and chant slogans such as “free, free Palestine” and “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” 

Photos by Christina Lee, Photography Editor.

Some brought sleeping bags and told the News that they had planned to sleep on Beinecke Plaza overnight if administrators did not ask them to leave.

Two officers from the Yale Police Department, Yale Police Chief Anthony Campbell ’95 DIV ’09, Assistant Vice President for University Life Pilar Montalvo and Associate Director for Student Life Nina Fattore gathered nearby at 8:30 p.m. They remained on site but did not intervene until 10:45 p.m. Over 20 police officers arrived on the scene by 11:00 p.m.

Photos by Christina Lee, Photography Editor.

The University spokesperson did not comment on behalf of the University to explain why students were asked to vacate the Plaza, referring instead to an earlier comment issued about Monday’s demonstration that linked to Yale’s guidelines around free expression, peaceful assembly and the use of outdoor spaces. Both Campbell and Montalvo deferred to Yale’s spokesperson and declined to comment themselves.

At 10:47 p.m., one organizer stood up and encouraged demonstrators to go home. 

“I thought in academia we’re supposed to get citations!” the organizer joked, which drew laughs from the crowd. “So our plan is we’re going to start moving soon, and if anyone has stuff to sleep overnight that’s cool but we encourage you to go back to your apartment because there’s not enough of us here to safely do that.”

They also mentioned the police presence around the demonstration, claiming it was because “they can’t deal with students who have a voice and their own opinion,” drawing boos and cries of “shame!”

By 11:17 p.m., almost every demonstrator departed and police had left the scene.
Bulldog Days will last until April 17, and the Yale Corporation is set to convene on Saturday, April 20.

Ben Raab covers faculty and academics at Yale and writes about the Yale men's basketball team. Originally from New York City, Ben is a sophomore in Pierson college pursuing a double major in history and political science.
Yolanda Wang (she/her) covers endowment, finances, and donations. She is a sophomore in Davenport College majoring in political science.
Lily Belle Poling covers climate and the environment. Originally from Montgomery, Alabama, she is a first year in Branford College majoring in Global Affairs and English.