‘Don’t Mess With Texas’: UT Anti-Israel Agitators Schooled

AUSTIN -- State troopers on UT campus | Image by Sydney Asher/The Dallas Express

AUSTIN, TX — Texas state troopers and Austin police shut down an anti-Israel protest held on campus at the University of Texas at Austin Wednesday that resulted in over a dozen arrests.

Hundreds of students and faculty walked out of class at 11:40 a.m., marching through the campus to the South Lawn. The agitators were met by University police, the Austin Police Department, and state troopers as they paraded through the street, chanting “f**k Greg Abbott” and “free Palestine.”

Protesters chanting on UT Austin campus | Video by Sydney Asher/The Dallas Express

UT’s Palestine Solidarity Committee organized the protest, calling on students to leave class and take to the street. The Office of the Dean of Students sent a letter to the committee the day before the demonstration, saying that the event would not be allowed to “proceed as planned,” according to KVUE.

“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,” the letter read in part. “Please be advised that you are not permitted to hold your event on the University campus. Any attempt to do so will subject your organization and its attending members to discipline including suspension under the Institutional Rules.”

The letter stated that any attendees not affiliated with UT will be directed to leave and may be subject to arrest.

UT’s Divison of Student Affairs released a statement, saying that it “does not tolerate disruptions of campus activities or operations like we have seen at other campuses,” referring to the slew of anti-Israel protests that have taken place at more than 200 U.S. college campuses this week, on some of which The Dallas Express has reported.

The protest culminated in a massive congregation on South Lawn, where students and faculty were surrounded by law enforcement.

“We’re not here to make arrests; we’re here to make sure nobody gets hurt,” said Austin Police Officer McMorrow.

State troopers dispatched by Gov. Abbott continued to arrive throughout the afternoon in riot gear, some arriving on horseback.

Texas DPS told KVUE its state troopers’ presence had been requested by the university and by Abbott, who directed them “to prevent any unlawful assembly and to support UT Police in maintaining the peace by arresting anyone engaging in any sort of criminal activity, including criminal trespass.”

Law enforcement called for demonstrators to clear the area, but the crowd barely dispersed. At 5:23 p.m., APD issued a mass evacuation order, telling the agitators to leave the South Mall area or risk being arrested.

Gov. Abbott, responding to a video posted on X of law enforcement handling agitators, wrote, “Arrests being made right now & will continue until the crowd disperses. These protesters belong in jail. Antisemitism will not be tolerated in Texas. Period. Students joining in hate-filled, antisemitic protests at any public college or university in Texas should be expelled.”

Some UT Austin faculty members released a statement following the event, calling off classes and assignments to protest again on Thursday. “Instead of allowing our students to go ahead with their peaceful planned action, our leaders turned our campus into a militarized zone,” read the statement.

“There can be no business as usual when our campus is occupied by city police and state troopers who are preventing our students from engaging in a peaceful demonstration of their First Amendment rights,” it asserted.

The letter accused the police of “abuse” and using unnecessary force.

Anti-Israel protests continue to break out around the nation, as DX has reported. A protest at New York University on Monday resulted in more than 130 arrests.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick expressed concern about the trend, declaring, “Protesters who intended to takeover [sic] the UT campus posted on Instagram: ‘In the footsteps of our comrades at Columbia SJP, Rutgers-New Brunswick, Yale, and countless others across the nation, we will be establishing THE POPULAR UNIVERSITY FOR GAZA.’ This is delusional. We have big problems on our college campuses.”

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