Statewide Palestine march at the Texas State Capitol
Austin, TX – Thousands of people from across Texas and beyond gathered in Austin on November 12 for what organizers called the largest pro-Palestine rally in Texas history.
Enormous crowds of people filled the grounds of the Texas State Capitol in support of Palestine. Some demonstrators traveled from as far as El Paso, a 577-mile journey. They all called for an immediate ceasefire and total liberation of Palestine. Estimates of the total attendance range from 20,000 to 30,000 people, and from the stage, the edges of the crowd weren’t visible on any side.
After speeches by concerned community members and organizations, the protesters marched for hours around downtown Austin, wrapping around several city blocks.
The march on the Texas State Capitol, planned by Palestinian organizations across the state, was in response to over a month of a brutal, U.S.-backed Israeli genocide in Gaza that has claimed over 11,000 Palestinian lives since October 7. Attendees and speakers called out Governor Greg Abbott and the state of Texas’ unequivocal support for the Israeli occupation and genocide of Palestine, such as the $65 million in direct financial support from Texas to Israel over the past month.
Texas has a long history of anti-Palestinian legislation, including bans on public employees supporting the boycott, divestment, sanctions movement or from purchasing goods from Gaza. Texas currently holds at least $140 million in Israeli government bonds.
As thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters arrived at the capitol, they were met with an enormous display of militarized police presence. Dozens of Austin Police Department and Texas State Troopers were present with large rifles and K-9 units, including snipers posted at the top of the capitol. Despite the show of state force, thousands of attendees continued arriving, chanting “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” and “Abbott, Abbot you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide!” along with many other chants.
Speakers at the event included Nida Abu Baker, the daughter of Shukri Abu Baker of the Holy Land Foundation who was unjustly arrested for sending money to Palestinian charities. She said, “How can I stay silent when my home was raided when I was only ten, and I watched them take my father away with guns pointed at our heads? How can I stay silent when Israel keeps arresting children in the West Bank and holds them for years without trial?” She concluded her speech with an emotional reading of a poem written by her imprisoned father.
Another speaker, Mai Abushaaban, read letters from her mother and sister who were recently allowed to escape Gaza through the Rafah Crossing due to their American citizenship after what they called “27 days of atrocities committed by the Israeli Occupation Forces.” She declared, “The people of Gaza seek solidarity, not sympathy. They seek recognition, not rescue. They seek action, not condemnation.” As she was speaking, attendees rolled out and held up an approximately 50 foot banner listing out thousands of names of Palestinians killed in the current U.S-backed Israeli genocide of Gaza.
After the speeches, thousands of attendees took to the streets and marched around the Texas State Capitol building, through Austin’s iconic 6th Street and past the Texas AFL-CIO headquarters. The marchers wrapped around multiple city blocks, stretching out longer than the Capitol grounds themselves. Chants included “The people united will never be defeated” and “Gaza Gaza, head held high, Palestine will never die!”
As the march shut down downtown Austin, people peered down from windows and leaned out from balconies, many raising fists and peace signs in solidarity. Demonstrators waved dozens of Palestinian flags out the sides of parking garages, and a Palestinian flag banner billowed from three stories up down to the street.