AUSTIN (KXAN) — Two groups have rallies planned at the Texas Capitol this Sunday surrounding the events of the Israel-Hamas war.
The Austin branch of the Israeli-American Council and the Texas Israel Alliance hosted a rally from 12 to 3 p.m.
The Palestine Solidarity Committee, a student organization at UT Austin, began hosting its rally at 3 p.m., according to the group’s social media accounts. As of just before 4:30 p.m. Sunday, protestors in support of Palestine began marching along Congress Avenue in downtown Austin following demonstrations at the Texas Capitol.
As war continues to rage in Israel, the Texas Department of Public Safety said at this time it is not aware of any specific and credible threats to Texas but wants the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity.
Austin Mayor Kirk Watson said the city is on “high alert.”
“We have not received any information to believe that a threat is imminent here in Austin. However, our Austin Police and Homeland Security & Emergency Management departments are on high alert to help prevent and respond to any act of violence that may be attempted,” the mayor said Thursday.
‘We’re all grieving’ Israel protest organizer talks about rally mission
Toba Hellerstein is one of the organizer’s of the Israel rally Sunday.
“We’re all grieving,” she said. “We want to call for the unequivocal condemnation of terrorism.”
She said her side will openly condemn the Hamas attacks.
“It’s not just something that’s happening across the world, people in the community here are affected. People have family or know people with family who have been killed.”
She said she expects a high turnout at the event.
“As Jews, we try to stay joyous it’s a cultural thing,” she said. “We’ll have music, people will be dancing. It’ll be very peaceful, a very peaceful rally.”
‘We want to talk about civilians on both sides,’ Palestine rally attendee shares thoughts
Asaad Kawach was at last Sunday’s Palestine rally, and he will attend the upcoming event as well.
“It’s a peaceful protest,” he said.
While a student at UT, he said he was part of the Palestine Solidarity Committee, the group hosting this weekend’s rally.
“We were surprised just like everybody else,” he said of the Hamas attacks. “Nobody is here to condone or support the killing of civilians.”
He said he’ll be there Sunday to stand with his community to bring light to the casualties and strife Palestinians faced this week, as well as raise awareness of the history of their struggles in the Middle East.
“We want to talk about civilians on both sides. If we want to talk about the struggle, we also want to talk about the Palestinian people and what they went through,” he said. “Palestinians have been killed for the last 75 years, they’ve been kicked out of their homeland.”