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Charges dismissed against 46 arrested during pro-Palestinian protest at UT Austin

A police officer arrests a person wearing a Palestinian keffiyeh
Michael Minasi
KUT News
Law enforcement officers arrest protesters taking part in the demonstration.

Charges have been dismissed against 46 people arrested at a protest Wednesday on UT Austin's campus, Travis County Attorney Delia Garza said.

"Legal concerns were raised by defense counsel, we reviewed each case individually and agreed there were deficiencies in the probable cause affidavits," she told KUT in a text. "The Court affirmed and ordered the release of the individuals."

Nearly 60 people were arrested for allegedly trespassing during the pro-Palestinian demonstration. Garza said her office would continue to review cases to determine whether prosecution "is factually and legally appropriate."

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered on UT campus Wednesday as part of a protest in support of Palestinians and demanding a ceasefire in Gaza. The protest, organized by the Palestine Solidarity Committee, was met by a multiagency show of force. State police responded by request from UT President Jay Hartzell and Gov. Greg Abbott, who characterized the protest as violent and anti-Semitic.

Officers from the Austin Police Department, UT Police and the Department of Public Safety attempted to clear the university's south lawn. Dozens of protesters were arrested for criminal trespassing, a misdemeanor akin to loitering, or disorderly conduct, which is also a misdemeanor.

A person sitting on someone's shoulders waves to a crowd of supporters who smile and hold up peace signs.
Michael Minasi
KUT News
UT Austin student Ammer Qaddumi, who was arrested then released Wednesday, is greeted with cheers during a second protest organized by faculty on Thursday.

On Thursday, the university said there was a significant “outside group presence” at the protest and that “roughly half” of those arrested were not part of the UT community.

However, most of the small group of people whose charges were not dismissed on Wednesday do appear to be students. According to probable cause affidavits KUT obtained from the county, the names of seven of the 11 people match students listed in UT’s directory.

Faculty held a peaceful protest in the same spot Thursday to condemn the police response to the earlier demonstration.

The demonstrations are part of a wave of protests over Israel's war in Gaza.

The Texas Newsroom's Lauren McGaughy and KUT's Becky Fogel contributed to this report.

KUT journalists are employees of the University of Texas, but UT has no editorial control over their reporting.

Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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