University of Maryland students are continuing a sit-in on McKeldin Mall this week to call on this university’s administration to divest from defense contractors and “denounce the genocide in Gaza.”

About 100 students gathered throughout the day Monday in front of this university’s administration building for the sit-in, which lasted from about 9 a.m. to about 10 p.m. Attendees sat on blankets surrounded by Palestinian flags and held signs calling for divestment and support for Palestine. This university’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter organized the event through the Anti-Imperialist Movement at UMD.

The sit-in continued on Tuesday and will continue until this university divests from weapons manufacturers and defense contractors “complicit in war crimes,” according to an Instagram post by this university’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter. In the post, Students for Justice in Palestine also called for this university to “end the policing of pro-Palestinian speech.”

Dozens of students held similar sit-ins last week on McKeldin Mall and Hornbake Plaza, The Diamondback previously reported.

The University System of Maryland Foundation, which controls the university system’s financial assets, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Monday’s sit-in featured several speakers, including state Del. Gabriel Acevero (D-Montgomery), who co-sponsored a ceasefire resolution in the Maryland General Assembly’s 2024 session. Acevero emphasized that university officials will not act unless students continue their demonstrations.

“Today can’t be the final day that you all are organizing,” Acevero told the crowd. “Today has to be the beginning of the work that you all do on this campus to ensure that you’re raising awareness.”

[UMD community members hold sit-in to call for ceasefire in Gaza, divestment]

Sophomore information science major Sakshi Shetty said Monday the violence in Gaza is a pressing issue on campus and urged students to attend sit-ins and support divestment. Students at the sit-in hope the university “breaks their silence” and supports Palestine, Shetty added.

“There has to be some sort of explicit support being shown to Palestinian people,” she said. “When you’re silent about it and not doing anything, you’re complicit in genocide.”

Hamas killed at least 1,200 people in Israel and took about 250 hostages in an Oct. 7, 2023 attack, according to the Associated Press. Israel declared war on Hamas the next day, and Israel’s military forces have killed more than 34,000 people in Palestine since October, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

Acevero said he attended the sit-in Monday to stand in solidarity with Palestinians at this university and people in Gaza who have experienced “untold atrocities.”

“Injustice knows no boundaries and our solidarity should not either,” Acevero said.

The sit-in comes amid a rise in encampments and protests on college campuses after more than 100 demonstrators supporting Palestine were arrested at Columbia University on April 18, according to the Associated Press. Police officers took more demonstrators at Columbia University into custody on Tuesday night after a group supporting Palestine occupied an administration building, the Associated Press reported.

More than 1,000 people have been arrested on college campuses in the past two weeks, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

Last week, several students from this university joined college students across the Washington, D.C., region for an encampment at George Washington University. The encampment — which started on Thursday with about 50 students — has grown to hundreds since it began, The GW Hatchet reported.

[UMD SGA fails to advance divestment resolution]

This university has been monitoring demonstrations on college campuses across the nation and “will continue to prioritize the safety of all members of the UMD community,” this university wrote Monday in a statement to The Diamondback.

“We have been working with student groups in real time throughout the day to allow campus operations to continue without disruption while upholding our students’ rights to exercise their freedom of expression,” the statement said.

Zyad Khan, a freshman computer science major, said he attended Monday’s sit-in to show solidarity with people in Gaza and protestors at other universities.

“The bare minimum each of us can do is come out and just sit here,” Khan said.

Srinidhi Arumugam, a sophomore computer science and neuroscience major, said she hopes the sit-in at this university will motivate more students to engage in demonstrations.

Some students walking across campus stopped to listen to speeches at the sit-in, she said Monday.

“It is insanely inspiring to see how our generation has stepped up,” Arumugam said. “I hope that seeing what other schools have done, our school steps up more as well.”