May 2, 2024 - News

UT Dallas shuts down pro-Palestianian encampment

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Police arrested around 20 people at a pro-Palestinian encampment at UT Dallas Wednesday.

Why it matters: The crackdown mirrored arrests at protests at UT Austin as Gov. Greg Abbott has declared, "no encampments will be allowed."

The big picture: The Pro-Palestinian movement is spreading among college campuses, with students and faculty demanding their leaders divest from companies that have ties to Israel over its punishing assault of Gaza.

  • Some universities have also seen counter-protests in support of Israel, causing tensions and disagreements over the role of law enforcement.

What happened: Protesters pitched tents early Wednesday on UT Dallas' Chess Plaza, resembling other encampments at universities nationwide.

Friction point: UT Dallas said in a statement that the encampment was blocking a main walkway. Officials gave the protesters a written warning to remove the tents.

  • Officers from several outside agencies, including the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Collin County sheriff's department, arrived on campus to help clear the encampment starting at 4pm. Dozens of officers were wearing riot gear, some carrying zip ties and batons, per the DMN.
  • By 5pm, 17 people had been arrested on criminal trespassing charges, per the university. NBC5 reported 20 arrests were made.
  • Many officers left by 6pm, and around 100 protesters marched to another part of campus, per the DMN. Dozens of protesters also showed up at the detention facility where those arrested were taken.
Police in plastic face shields in front of a crowd of people
Some officers were seen wearing face shields and carrying zip ties at UT Dallas Wednesday. Screenshot: NBC5

Meanwhile: Hundreds of University of North Texas students walked out of class on Tuesday to join a pro-Palestinian protest. There wasn't a large police presence, and no arrests were reported.

What's next: The people who were arrested were still in custody last night, waiting to be arraigned, per FOX4.

  • "Individuals may peacefully assemble in the common outdoor areas of campus to exercise their right to free speech, but they may not construct an encampment or block pathways," UT Dallas said in the statement.
  • Finals are next week.
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