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The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Students, faculty, law enforcement clash at pro-Palestine protest

Manoo Sirivelu
Law enforcement channels protesters past Sutton Hall on Wednesday during the pro-Palestine protest.

UPDATE: The number of confirmed arrests is now 57, according to the Travis County Sheriff’s office, as of 10:30 a.m. Thursday morning.

Hundreds of protesters chanted “free Palestine” and “off our campus” Wednesday after police officers arrived at a pro-Palestine protest, pushed protesters and made at least 34 arrests. 

The protest, organized by the Palestine Solidarity Committee, called for the University to “divest from death” following encampments at campuses such as Columbia and Yale, according to the Committee’s Instagram. Over 100 protesters were arrested at Columbia and nearly 50 at Yale, according to the Columbia Spectator and Yale Daily News. 

11:40 a.m.

Protesters gathered outside Gregory Gym. Committee organizers announced protest rules such as not engaging with law enforcement and chanting only during passing periods. Approximately 15 UTPD officers lined up behind the crowd on bicycles.

12:00 p.m.

State troopers on horseback blocked off the intersection of Speedway and 21st Street as protesters marched down Speedway. Approximately 150 to 200 protesters gathered between Jester West Dormitory and the Perry-Castañeda Library, blocked on either side by UTPD officers on bicycles and state troopers on motorcycles and horseback. Approximately 20 officers wearing riot gear arrived on Speedway.

Officers guided protesters south towards Brazos Garage. At approximately 12:30 p.m., officers warned protesters to disperse, saying people who didn’t leave the area would be arrested for trespassing. 

12:49 p.m.

Officers arrested a Palestine Solidarity Committee member on Speedway in front of Gregory Gym — the first arrest of the day.

1:00 p.m.

Officers maneuvered protesters north along Speedway, repeating “move.” At least five arrests followed as law enforcement pushed protesters and onlookers to the outskirts of Speedway. Officers zip tied arrested protesters’ hands before loading them into law enforcement vehicles.

1:42 p.m.

Protesters moved to the Main Mall lawn from Speedway. They unfurled banners and sat on blankets. Law enforcement attempted to block protesters from marching from Speedway to the Main Mall. 

2:07 p.m.

Several rounds of arrests followed over the next two hours; two to three people were arrested each time. Protesters continued chanting “not our Texas,” “off our campus” and “shame on you” to the officers.

“It comes down to basic human rights, and today I’m here to stand up for those human rights,” an anonymous student protester said. 

4:30 p.m.

Officers continued arrests, including a FOX 7 photographer. A New York Times journalist was also injured at 4:37 p.m.

Pavithra Vasudevan, member of the Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine, told remaining protesters to write down the number of the Austin Lawyers Guild in the case they were arrested. 

“I’m here in solidarity with the students who have been putting all their time and energy into doing what the University should be doing, which is making our campus safe, which is fighting for people to have the right to speak (and) the right to protest,” Vasudevan said. “As a faculty member, as a professor, as a feminist, as a scholar, as a teacher (and) as a mother, I won’t stand for that.” 

5:00 p.m.

Law enforcement made three announcements on the emergency alert system beginning at approximately 5:15 p.m., ordering protesters to disperse or be arrested for violating Penal Code 42.01 of disorderly conduct. 

5:20 p.m.

The Department of Public Safety confirmed in a social media statement that by 5:20 p.m. officers made over 20 arrests.

At approximately 5:21 p.m., officers began pushing protesters off the Main Mall lawn onto Inner Campus Drive. Some protesters went into nearby buildings to avoid interaction with law enforcement.

5:59 p.m.

Most state troopers left. Some remained on horseback on Inner Campus Drive, blocking protesters from the Main Mall.

At approximately 6:03 p.m., state troopers pushed the crowd toward Guadalupe Street, where they remained for about 10 minutes. Law enforcement left campus. Many protesters returned to the Main Mall, sitting on blankets on the lawn.

“I felt like a time traveler looking back at a protest,” an anonymous neuroscience sophomore said while on Guadalupe Street. “We’re making history.”

8:00 p.m.

The Travis County Sheriff’s Office confirmed 34 arrested protesters have been fully processed at the Travis County Jail, with continuing to be processed. The Palestine Solidarity Committee said over 50 people have been arrested.

8:30 p.m.

Hartzell released a statement saying the University “enforced (its) rules while protecting the Constitutional right to free speech.” The statement expressed gratitude for campus and state law enforcement for showing “extraordinary restraint in the face of a difficult situation.” 

UTPD ended the dispersal order for the South Lawn at 9 p.m.

The Texan will continue updating this story.

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About the Contributor
Naina Srivastava, Senior News Reporter & Senior Photographer
Naina is a freshman journalism major from Mountain View, California. She is currently a senior news reporter and senior photographer at the Texan.