Hundreds at the University of Texas at Austin have protested in support of Palestine this week, with approximately 50 arrested.

According to UT professor Jeremi Suri, as shared in his exchange with Texas Standard, students were peacefully assembled on Wednesday, holding signs and chanting "Free Palestine". Suri stated that he observed no violence by protestors and no reasons for arrests to be made.

However, state and university police descended into the peacefully assembled crowd, escalating tensions. Decked out in riot gear, law enforcement threatened protestors with arrest if they did not disband.

Protests and encampments have occurred at several college campuses - including Columbia University, Emerson College, and the University of Southern California, among others - across the United States in recent weeks. A broad movement on college campuses is currently sweeping the nation, demonstrating support for Palestine and pressuring university administrations to sever ties with Israel.

Though relations have been strained between Palestine and Israel for well over a century, tensions came to a head in October 2023, when Hamas - a militant group based in Palestine - attacked southern Israel, and the Israeli military retaliated.

Concerned UT faculty shared the following post on X, in light of this week's protests and arrests at the university:

One pro-Israeli protestor said, "Here [at the University of Texas] you can have a positive dialogue with people. You can communicate with people. I talk with people who disagree with me all the time. I have friends in law school who are on the other side of this protest and I respect their right to free speech. I only ask that they do the same for me."

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