Austin rallies in solidarity with Palestine on Land Day
Austin, TX – On March 30, around 30 students and activists from all over Austin converged on the State Capitol building in solidarity with Palestine on Land Day. The action was organized by Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC), a local group dedicated to organizing in solidarity with Palestinians in their struggle against the Israeli occupation.
PSC was joined by many local groups including Austin Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Red Aid, and the United Neighborhood Defense Movement, among others.
As various speakers explained, Land Day is a commemoration of March 30, 1976 when – after the Israeli occupation’s plan to steal thousands of acres of land – Palestinians banded together, organized mass strikes, and protested against the Israeli occupation. In the resulting action, six unarmed Palestinians were murdered, roughly 100 were injured, and hundreds more were arrested.
Speaking for Austin SDS, Justin Clitheroe drew connections between police in the U.S. and the Israeli military. Clitheroe said, “The fight for Palestinian freedom is closely tied to the fight against police crimes right here in the U.S. As we, and other groups, organize against police brutality on our campuses and in our communities, we must also remember that many U.S. police forces, including the APD, have trained with the Israeli Defense Forces, sharing tactics for oppressing protesters who dare to speak out against the injustices that the police commit.”
Nura Bawab, an organizer with PSC, said, “We recognize that these instances of repression are not isolated incidents. That these killings, arrests and brutality from the state are consistently used as a means to suppress the Palestinian fight for self determination. It is not something that should be normalized. Rather it is a reminder of the violence that is intrinsically necessary by Israel to continue their settler colonial project.”
Bawab also emphasized the continued Palestinian resistance, reminding us that “Palestinians in Gaza began the Great March of Return, which became one of the largest popular protests against Israel and the illegal blockade in recent history.”
After the speeches, the action continued with a march down 11th Street and concluded with a banner drop over Interstate 35.