Police Dismantle Protesters' Encampment at UT Dallas

Student protesters arrested at UT-Dallas for setting up pro-Palestinian encampment; part of nationwide demonstrations amid Israel-Hamas war.

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Texas DPS Troopers Arrest Student Protesters at UT Dallas Encampment

Texas DPS Troopers Arrest Student Protesters at UT Dallas Encampment

On Wednesday, law enforcement dismantled encampments set up by anti-Israel protesters at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD). The protesters are demanding the university divest from U.S. corporations with ties to Israel's war in Gaza.

Some of the protesters, part of the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) group, had been arrested for criminal trespass after UTD requested assistance from law enforcement to ensure the safety of students, faculty, and staff.

The encampment, referred to as the "Gaza Liberation Plaza," was set up on a campus plaza with tents and food stations. Protesters hung a banner saying "Welcome to Gaza Liberation Plaza." Campus police initially observed the demonstration, but later dispersed the crowd and made arrests after the university stated that setting up an encampment was not permitted under UT System policy.

SJP had previously staged a 10-hour sit-in at UTD's administration building and met with the university president. The group accused corporations like Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, and Boeing of facilitating endless war, death, and destruction in Palestine and around the world and called on the university to divest from those companies. They were also protesting a recent executive order signed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott that the group says targets pro-Palestinian protesters.

Why this matters: The incident at UT-Dallas marks the second such in Texas, with over 136 protesters previously arrested at the University of Texas at Austin for similar demonstrations. These protests are part of a nationwide series of pro-Palestinian demonstrations at colleges and universities amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in which more than 34,000 people have reportedly been killed in Gaza.

A group of hundreds of protesters from the area stood nearby chanting before leaving around 5:45 AM, and some Jewish students holding an Israeli flag also came to the site to counter the protest. UTD administration had told the protesters they could not have an encampment or any structures, warning that any attempt to stay in the camp or have structures up could result in arrests for trespassing.

Key Takeaways

  • Law enforcement dismantled encampments set up by anti-Israel protesters at UT-Dallas
  • Protesters demanded university divest from companies tied to Israel's Gaza war
  • Part of nationwide pro-Palestinian demonstrations at colleges
  • UT-Dallas warned protesters that encampment could result in trespassing arrests
  • Over 136 protesters previously arrested at UT-Austin for similar demonstrations