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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott vows student Gaza protester demands will ‘NEVER’ be met. Here’s how we got here.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a defiant statement Sunday, vowing that the demands made by student protesters at the University of Texas at Austin will “NEVER happen.” The students called for the school to divest itself from companies manufacturing weapons for Israel and demanded the resignation of university President Jay Hartzell.

“This will NEVER happen,” Abbott wrote on X about the demands. “The only thing that will happen is that the University and the State will use all law-enforcement tools to quickly terminate illegal protests taking place on campus that clearly violate the laws of the state of Texas and policies of the university.”

The University of Texas at Austin is one of dozens of schools across the country where students have set up encampments, clashed with police and made divestment demands in response to Israel’s military campaign against Hamas in Gaza.

On Sunday, roughly 300 protesters gathered on the South Lawn of the campus to press their call for divestment. They believe the university helps fund the war in Gaza through those investments.

Sunday’s protest ended peacefully with speakers instructing participants on how to leave the grounds safely. Still, it wasn’t without tension.

What was the University of Texas protest about?

Sunday’s demonstration was the latest in over a week’s worth of protests happening on campus that escalated on April 24, when police officers pepper-sprayed the crowd in an attempt to clear out protest encampments on the South Lawn.

The Palestine Solidarity Committee, which organized the April 24 protest, said it was following the footsteps of students calling for justice in Palestine across the country, including at Columbia University, the University of Southern California and others.

The university claims that demonstrators were arrested because they broke Institutional Rules outlining the school’s protocols on peaceful protests. Alleged transgressions include setting up encampments and allegedly harassing police officers and staff. The organizers, however, claim the arrests and violence were escalated by the police.

How many have been arrested?

Over 140 people have been arrested since the protests escalated on April 24, according to KUT News in Austin. Abbott made no bones supporting the arrests and applauded the university’s president, Hartzell, who called in police officers to handle the situation and issue arrests when warranted.

What are the specific student demands?

According to the Palestine Solidarity Committee, the student demands consist of three main points:

1. That UT Austin divest millions of dollars that go to companies that manufacture weapons for Israel that are being used against Palestinians in Gaza.

2. That UT Austin provide full amnesty to student protesters arrested and “unsuspend” members of the Palestine Solidarity Committee.

3. That Hartzell resign immediately as university president. Following the April 24 arrests by police, over 600 faculty members signed a letter expressing that they had “no confidence” in his leadership.

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