Texas police arrest UT Austin students attempting to set up anti-Israel Gaza Camp, Gov. Greg Abbott threatens more arrests

Hundreds of Texas State troopers police arrived on campus and issued orders to disperse.

Katie Daviscourt Seattle WA
On Wednesday, Texas police were dispatched to the University of Texas at Austin to restore lawful order after anti-Israel protests erupted on campus, sparking chaos and disruption.

Several people were arrested after authorities issued multiple dispersal orders which were met with resistance and exacerbated tensions.

The anti-Israel demonstrations began around noon, and by 2 pm, students had set up a Gaza solidarity encampment on the grass in front of the UT Tower, similar to the encampments that have appeared at other institutions around the US this week.

The Houston Chronicle reported that roughly 200 students gathered outside the Gregory Gymnasium to kick off the protests. They marched through campus and chanted phrases such as "Free Palestine" and "Palestine will be free."

The protests were organized by the student-led Palestine Solidarity Committee, which advertised the event on Instagram on Tuesday, per the paper.

However, unlike other colleges which have been plagued by similar antisemitic protests, university officials warned organizers about disciplinary action ahead of time, saying that the organizers appeared to intend to "violate our policies and rules and disrupt our campus operations" which would not be tolerated.

They threatened to suspend anyone who participated in the protests and said they would ask individuals not connected to the university to leave or risk being arrested, the Chronicle reported.

University officials sent out warnings to students on Wednesday afternoon, urging them to avoid the South Mall area of campus.

Hundreds of Texas State troopers police arrived on campus and issued orders to disperse, video footage shows. The dispersal orders were resisted which resulted in arrests.

Michael Adkison, a reporter for CBS Austin, said that police appeared to be making targeted arrests in the crowd, and during each arrest, protesters would chant, "Let them go," referring to the detained individual. Adkison said he witnessed this happen around a dozen times.

The protest spread like wildfire across social media, which promoted a heated response from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

"Arrests being made right now & will continue until the crowd disperses. These protesters belong in jail. Antisemitism will not be tolerated in Texas. Period," Abbott wrote on X.

"Students joining in hate-filled, antisemitic protests at any public college or university in Texas should be expelled," he continued.

Abbott was blasted by many on X for this poorly worded statement that suggested he believed antisemitism itself was an arrestable offense.

Dr. Aaron Voyles, executive director of student involvement, and Melissa Jones-Wommack, acting executive director of student conduct and academic integrity, released a joint statement and said: "Simply put, The University of Texas at Austin will not allow this campus to be 'taken' and protesters to derail our mission in ways that groups affiliated with your national organization have accomplished elsewhere."

Police have not yet indicated how many people were arrested.

This situation remains ongoing. Check back for updates.
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