Dozens of Professors Were Arrested at a DACA Protest in Harvard Square

They blocked Mass. Ave. in a peaceful, disruptive demonstration.

Protesters, including professors from area colleges and universities, made national upheaval over Trump’s decision to rescind the DACA immigration program manifest in Harvard Square last night.

Dozens were arrested for blocking traffic with a human chain on Mass. Ave. as hundreds looked on—an act participants say was a disruptive, but necessary step to raise awareness of the thousands of students could soon be at risk of deportation.

The Harvard Crimson reports that 31 professors were arrested at Thursday’s protest, organized in support of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. DACA grants temporary legal status to young people brought across the border as children before 2007. Trump announced a winding down of the program set to begin in six months unless Congress steps in to save it. The Crimson reports that “several dozen” Harvard students are DACA recipients.

The protest, named “Professors Say: Our Students are Here to Stay!” on a Facebook page, was peaceful. Participants rallied in Harvard Yard and made a human chain linking themselves from Harvard’s gates to the statue of Charles Sumner, the abolitionist.  The Facebook page says participants came from “Harvard, Tufts, MIT, Wellesley, Babson, and beyond.”

Arrested protesters faced a charge of disturbing the peace and were due to appear in court Friday. Among them was Harvard Divinity School Professor Ahmed Ragab, who officially became a naturalized citizen on Thursday. He had said before the protest that he “will be honored to have this be my first act as a citizen,” according to a release from the rally’s organizers.

Denouncements of Trump’s decision came in several protests around Boston this week, and particularly from colleges and universities. Harvard President Drew Faust called the decision a “cruel policy” that “recognizes neither justice nor mercy.”

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced the state would join others in suing the federal government.