50 arrested on UT Austin campus in Texas amid anti-Israel protest

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More than 50 people were arrested on Wednesday at an anti-Israel protest on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin), the capital city of the south-central U.S. state of Texas, reported local media outlet Austin American-Statesman.

The Palestine Solidarity Committee, a registered student group of UT Austin and a part of the National Students for Justice in Palestine, organized the rally to urge an end to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, according to the report.

About 54 people were held at the Travis County Jail related to the protest, said the report, citing George Lobb, an attorney with the Austin Lawyers Guild.

There have been heavy state and university police presence since the students walked out of class to protest at noontime, including dozens of Texas Department of Public Safety troopers in riot gear.

When some people began setting up tents for an encampment, which the Palestine Solidarity Committee had said was its intention, police took the tents down almost immediately.

As many as 20 people had been booked into the jail shortly after 8 p.m. local time (0100 GMT, Thursday), said Travis County sheriff’s office spokesperson Kristen Dark.

“UT Austin does not tolerate disruptions of campus activities or operations like we have seen at other campuses,” the UT Division of Student Affairs said in a statement before the protest.

Travis County Attorney Delia Garza issued a statement around 7 p.m. on Wednesday (0000 GMT, Thursday), asking the crowd to disperse “for the safety of all.”

On March 27, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order calling for universities to curb antisemitism by revising their free speech policy.

From Texas to California, pro-Palestinian demonstrations are spreading on campuses across the United States, as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in Gaza continues. Hundreds have been arrested by the police amid student protests.

All classes at Columbia University in New York went virtual starting on Monday as divisive demonstrations and debates around the conflict heated up on campus recently.

According to media reports, students from Yale University, New York University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Michigan, the University of North Carolina, Brown University, the University of Southern California, and other universities also staged encampments in solidarity with their peers at Columbia University. ■

People gather for an anti-Israel protest on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) in Texas, the United States, April 24, 2024. More than 50 people were arrested on Wednesday at an anti-Israel protest here, reported local media outlet Austin American-Statesman.

Texas state troopers are pictured after an anti-Israel protest on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) in Texas, the United States, April 24, 2024. More than 50 people were arrested on Wednesday at an anti-Israel protest here, reported local media outlet Austin American-Statesman.

Source: Xinhua

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