'These Protesters Belong in Jail': Gov. Abbott Cheers Arrest of Pro-Palestine Protesters at UT Austin

Chris Menahan
Apr. 24, 2024

Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Wednesday declared that "antisemitic" college students at UT Austin protesting Israel's war on Gaza "belong in jail" and insisted that any student taking part in "hate-filled, antisemitic protests" should be expelled.

"Arrests being made right now & will continue until the crowd disperses," Abbott said on Twitter. "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."

At least 30 people were "handcuffed and removed from the school," according to The Texas Tribune:
A student walkout protest in support of Palestine at the University of Texas at Austin on Wednesday turned increasingly chaotic as the day went by, resulting in at least 30 people being handcuffed and removed from the school, including two members of the media.

About 500 students demanded that UT-Austin divest from manufacturers supplying Israel weapons in its strikes on Gaza. They gathered outside the university’s Gregory Gym before moving to the South Lawn, where they had planned to stay into the evening. A small crowd of counter-protesters were present at the student demonstrations.

Officers at the scene donned riot gear and in some cases wielded mace or mounted horses while trying to drive back the protesters. Some officers could be seen pushing protesters with their batons. Several students were pushed to the ground and handcuffed with white plastic ties. Students acting as legal observers frantically shouted to get their names.

The demonstration showed no signs of violence before authorities intervened, though police did order the attendees to disperse and warned many that they would be arrested for trespassing.
Abbott declared war on the First Amendment last month by signing an executive order to punish students for their "antisemitic rhetoric."

Republicans throughout the country are passing de facto hate speech laws to silence criticism of Israel's ethnic cleansing campaign in Gaza.

[Header image by Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED]

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