Media Contact

CONTACT: Kristi Gross, ACLU of Texas, [email protected]

April 25, 2024

AUSTIN, Texas – State and university officials deployed law enforcement agencies Wednesday to dismantle pro-Palestinian demonstrations at the University of Texas at Austin, the flagship public university in the state.

Media shared reports of armed law enforcement disrupting an on-campus protest while making dozens of arrests, including the detention of a local video journalist. The demonstration was organized by students on campus in solidarity with other university protests statewide and across the country. The rights to speak and to peacefully assemble are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

The following statement can be attributed to Caro Achar, engagement coordinator at the ACLU of Texas:

“When university and state officials attack free speech, they undermine the core of our democracy. The First Amendment guarantees people in Texas and across the nation the right to protest, including those who advocate for Palestinians. However, state leaders rapidly escalated a planned day of peaceful demonstrations by deploying law enforcement in riot gear against students and the press. Public officials don’t get to forcefully suppress the voices of people they disagree with.

“Instead of trying to violently censor Texans, state officials have a responsibility to create spaces for students, staff, and faculty to express their views and engage in peaceful protest.”

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