Students protest for Palestine during The Game During halftime at the Yale-Harvard game, students waved Palestinian flags and called for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war. Words by Tristan Hernandez. Multimedia by Ellie Park and Samad Hakani.

Approximately 70 spectators waved Palestinian flags and screamed “Yale, Yale, you can’t hide, you’re financing genocide” and “viva, viva Palestina” — among other pro-Palestinian chants — during halftime and into the third quarter of the Yale-Harvard football game on Saturday.

Protesters urged a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war and, in accusing the University of “financing genocide,” seemed to refer to Yale’s alleged investments in companies that manufacture weapons. After chanting in the stands, some protestors marched through the streets surrounding the Yale Bowl while holding posters and Palestinian flags, according to a social media post from organizers; they wrote in that post that more than 300 people participated in the walkout.

This year, 51,127 fans attended The Game at the Yale Bowl.

Two students who were involved in organizing the demonstration declined to comment for this story. The University did not immediately respond to comment about the protesters’ demands.

The stadium demonstration came after the University issued a statement to students on Friday that formally prohibited large posters and said that any “unauthorized spectators” who attempted to access the field during the game could be arrested. There was a large police and security presence on the sidelines during the game, but no large protest took place on the field. A large screen in the stadium also periodically displayed an announcement that “unauthorized entry” onto the field would lead to “immediate ejection” from the stadium and possible arrest.

The last time an on-field protest occurred in the Yale Bowl was during the 2019 Yale-Harvard game, when at least 150 Yale and Harvard alumni and students stormed the field to demand that both universities divest from fossil fuels. Forty-two were issued misdemeanor summons for disorderly conduct.

Before Saturday’s protest started, there was only one officer stationed at the entrance to the field by where the protest would take place. In the minutes leading up to the start of the protest, before the demonstrators pulled out flags or banners, more officers showed up.

New Haven Police Chief Karl Jacobson confirmed in an email to the New Haven Register on Nov. 16 that the Yale Police Department was “assisting [Yale] with a large amount of officers.”

“Yale always has [had] concerns about [disruptions] since 2019,” Yale Police Chief Anthony Campbell told the Register. “We're on a constant learning curve with regard to how to deal with disruptions. We have safety plans in place, and if there are any disruptions, we will be able to address it pretty quickly.”

On Oct. 7, Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel, killing at least 1,200 people in Israel according to the country’s Foreign Ministry, and taking more than 240 hostages per its military, as the New York Times has reported. Israel responded with a formal declaration of war against Hamas, airstrikes and a ground invasion of Gaza. Reuters reported on Nov. 18 that Israel’s attacks have now killed more than 12,000 in Gaza, including 5,000 children, based on figures released by authorities in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and deemed credible by the United Nations.

College campuses across the country have seen rise in tensions related to the ongoing war, prompting increased safety concerns — and Yale is no exception.

Photo by Ellie Park.

Over the last month, students have held and attended a range of demonstrations. Groups have called for an immediate ceasefire and demanded that the University divest from weapons manufacturing. At other campus events, students have expressed support for an independent Palestine. Last week, a group of students also traveled to the “March for Israel” rally in Washington, D.C., to call for an end to recent antisemitism and express support for Israel.

Photo by Ellie Park.

Last week, after two Jewish students alleged that they had been barred from attending a University-sponsored panel titled “Gaza Under Siege,” Nick Gaede Jr. ’61 told the News that he pulled his self-described “minor” donations to the University.

Saturday’s Game Day protest also coincided with an ongoing doxxing campaign on campus, which targeted students from both universities. The University has officially denounced the doxxing incidents, and 100 Yale faculty members issued an open letter pledging to protect free speech and nonviolent assembly on campus, amplify students’ “cries for justice” and maintain “curious, critical, open spaces” for student learning.

Photo by Ellie Park.

Some Israeli flags and pro-Israel signs were also on display at The Game. An attendee’s sign in the stands read “Exchange each hostage for 100 pro-Hamas Harvard students & faculty,” referring to the approximately 240 hostages whom Hamas kidnapped and currently holds.

The Bulldogs won The Game 23-18 on Saturday, securing a portion of the Ivy League Championship — alongside Harvard University and Dartmouth College — and claiming the title for the second consecutive year. They finished the season with a 5-2 record against Ivy League opponents.

There have been 139 iterations of the Yale-Harvard football game.

Contact Tristan Hernandez at tristan.hernandez@yale.edu.

Update, Nov. 27: This article has been updated to include more information about the demonstration and walkout.