The Austin Chronicle

University of Texas Students Stage Walkout

By Mary Tuma, January 20, 2017, 3:37pm, Newsdesk

Roughly 400 University of Texas students walked out of class on Friday, Jan. 20, in protest of Donald Trump’s inauguration as 45th president of the United States. The International Socialist Organization, the Palestinian Solidarity Committee, United Students Against Sweatshops, and the Revolutionary Student Front were among the event organizers.

“No KKK; no fascist USA; no Trump!,” and “Undocumented, Unafraid!,” chanted the massive crowd, which congregated at the UT Tower around noon. (See photo gallery.) Speakers advocated for the rights of immigrants, women, LGBTQ residents, low-income laborers, and minorities in the face of a racist, sexist regime. With bullhorns, speakers encouraged students to “embrace solidarity” and “fight back” against oppression, bigotry, racism, and Islamophobia, traits that have shown to be hallmarks of Trump’s leadership style. Speaker Andie Flores listed a specific set of demands for UT, including no university cooperation with ICE; no support for white nationalists on campus; UT divestment in companies complicit in the illegal occupation of Palestinian land; and stronger rights for UT workers.

UT freshman Simrat Chandi, protest sign in hand, told the Chronicle she came to the event in support of gender equality and human rights. “I’m fearful of my future and well-being under Trump, but that’s not going to stop me from fighting for myself and others,” said Chandi. [image-2-right]

The event unfolded with a handful of skirmishes with Trump voters and one detainment. A UT student and Trump supporter, self-identified as Arthur Thorburn, threatened to brandish a concealed knife attached to his backpack when student Joshua Ellis engaged him in conversation in an attempt to break down barriers. However, UT police later detained Thorburn after he and another student nearly erupted into a fistfight. (University police tell the Chronicle they have no additional information to release about the detainment at the moment.)

The group migrated through campus and to the Capitol. They are expected to meet up with the One Resistance citywide protest at Auditorium Shores at 4pm.

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