May 20, 2024

[1]

The Texas Department of “Safety” has, at the behest of the University of Texas at Austin (UT) administration and leadership, been called in to crack skulls and destroy the Pro-Palestinian encampment set up on the 29th of April 2024 on UT’s “South Mall,” near the famous UT Tower.

A sizeable gathering of Pro-Palestinian students set up an encampment to join other protests across the US, like Columbia, ASU, Emory, Harvard, USC, and others.

Hours after the encampment was set up, the Texas DPS, Austin Police Department (APD), and UT Police Department (UTPD) marshaled and then set upon the camp to destroy it. Students were surrounded by state forces and picked off one by one. Troopers, clad in bulletproof equipment and wielding assault rifles, tear gas, and zip ties, unjustly arrested and hauled off students who bravely stood their ground. Cops forbade medics entry into the encampment. The police utilized pepper spray and stun grenades, injuring numerous protesters — the use of stun grenades on unarmed, peaceful students being a disgraceful and unjust measure.

Students linked arms and bravely denounced the political repression as police officers arrested them. Possibly over 100 student protestors (a definite number arrested is forthcoming) were hauled off and sent to Travis County Jail with different (perhaps more severe) charges than last Wednesday, according to an Austin-American Statesman reporter.[2] Charges included disorderly conduct, obstructing a highway, criminal trespass, and riot.[3] The entire encampment was forcefully and unjustly evicted from the South Mall, with the remaining protestors forced back but continuing.

Then, 25 students bravely and heroically stood their ground in an attempt to prevent the sheriff’s bus filled with arrested protestors from leaving, The Daily Texan (UT’s student paper) reported, “10 state troopers on motorcycles block them and say, ‘You have 2 minutes to move, or you will be on that bus.’” [4] The cops drove forward and pushed their way through the students without regard for the injuries they would cause.

Students continued to march and protest after the first mass arrests were conducted, bravely chanting, “APD, KKK, IDF, they’re all the same!”

Notably, no pro-Israel students were arrested today despite agitating, screaming, and blocking police officers themselves. Friends of the bourgeois capitalist state are always happy to help the cops, and the cops are all too happy to say thanks to their Zionist friends!

Monday’s encampment is but a part of the entire effort of the Pro-Palestinian movement at UT and was, in fact, day 6 of what has been constant gatherings at UT’s South Mall ever since the unjust and disastrous crackdown by Texas state forces on the 24th of April. Those arrested that day were released soon after, with all charges dropped. Organizations, including, but not limited to, the Austin for Palestine Coalition and the Palestinian Solidarity Committee, have been constantly present and organizing both in Austin and at UT. What exactly has prompted this level of police response is unknown, considering the Pro-Palestinian students have been continually on the South Mall since the 24th.

After the events of the 24th of April at UT, which CWPUSA covered here, the righteous Pro-Palestinian students and activists returned to the South Mall, unfazed by the police repression. The same thing happened this Monday, with the student protestors returning to the South Mall after Texas DPS cleared it and left. The tenacity and courage of the Pro-Palestinian students are incredible, and their cause is entirely just! 

Monday’s events come on the same day that roughly 40 faculty held a “Scholasticide” vigil for the injury and killing of students and teachers in Gaza. The UT Austin AAUP (American Association of University Professors) simultaneously delivered an open letter with over 575 UT professor signatories denouncing the UT administration and calling for a vote of no confidence against the cop-loving, pro-Zionist, pro-genocide, and Republican Governor Greg Abbott plaything, UT President Jay Hartzell.[5] [6] The list of signatories to the open letter has been growing since the events on Monday.

It is safe to say that most faculty and students understand that not only what is happening in Palestine is genocide, but the state repression at the behest of the Texas state and the UT administration is entirely unjust and should be fought until UT divests from Israel, and UT President Jay Hartzell is thrown out in shame. 

The actions this Monday on UT’s campus were even more violent and brazen than those that made national headlines on the 24th! Eternal shame to those who support the actions of the state and the UT administration!

UT continues to be complicit and profit from the genocide of Palestinians. According to The Dallas Morning News, the University of Texas System, which includes numerous schools in Texas, has invested millions of dollars through endowments into defense contracting companies like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Gruman, and Raytheon — all of which sell arms to the genocidal state of Israel.[7] This is all on top of the billions of dollars in aid that are regularly sent on the taxpayer’s dime to kill Palestinians, all in President Joe Biden’s supposedly progressive, democratic  US!

UT Administration and the Texas state have repeatedly and hypocritically defended themselves as being pro-free speech while simultaneously denying that right to anyone who wants to protest the ongoing genocide perpetrated by Israel and with the full support of the capitalist class of the United States of America. Their two-faced lies are outrageous and must be exposed!

The stance of the CWPUSA concerning the student protests has not changed, as detailed extensively here. CWPUSA is on the side of the students. The communists stand with the students struggling for a free Palestine!

The continued actions of these brave students at UT and across the US are inspiring. These actions should be emulated on every campus across the country until the United States stops supporting the genocidal campaign of Israel and until every educational institution boycotts, divests, and sanctions Israel and the working class is mobilized to combat the genocidal bourgeois with the proletarian revolution!

We demand the expedient, immediate, and complete release of all students arrested, not just at UT but across the USA!

FROM THE RIVER TO THE SEA, PALESTINE WILL BE FREE!

This is a developing story, and we will continue to report on it.


[1] Image Credit: https://twitter.com/35mmadi

[2] Tony Plohetski, Retrieved from X, https://twitter.com/tplohetski/status/1785089417763279100

[3] The Daily Texan, “Pro-Palestine encampment set up on South Mall, over 40 protesters arrested,” https://thedailytexan.com/2024/04/29/pro-palestine-encampment-set-up-on-south-mall-over-40-protesters-arrested/

[4] The Daily Texan, Retrieved from X, https://twitter.com/thedailytexan/status/1785055552227217559

[5] The Daily Texan, Retrieved from X, https://twitter.com/thedailytexan/status/1785003513380053290

[6] UT Austin AAUP, Retrieved from X, https://twitter.com/aaup_utAustin/status/1784943649324679385

[7] The Dallas Morning News, “Do Texas universities fund Israel as student protesters say?,” https://www.dallasnews.com/business/2024/04/26/do-the-university-of-texas-systems-fund-israel-as-student-protesters-claim/