University of Maryland students denounce Gaza genocide & demonstrate for Palestine!

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Students at Maryland University defiantly protesting in support of Palestine while mounted police patrol the campus

STUDENTS at the University of Maryland on Wednesday joined ongoing pro-Palestine campus protests across the US demanding their school cease doing business with military firms amid Israel’s war on Gaza.

Gathering at its College Park campus, they also called for the university to denounce the ‘genocide’ in Gaza and end policing on the campus.

A graduate student of public health, said people in Gaza have been facing violence for the last six months.

She said: ‘We are here to demand that our university divest its holdings in the military companies that are creating the weapons and the technology that is being used to decimate our people.’

She also commented on the US presidential election in November, stressing that incumbent President Joe Biden will not win the race ‘if he continues to fund’ the Israeli attacks in Gaza.

‘And a lot of people are very rightfully angry at Biden and we are continuing to send a very clear message. Obviously, we’re very close to Washington DC. So we’re continuing to send him the message that either you stop funding genocide or you will be voted out in November,’ she added.

Brandee Kaplan, a student at the university and a member of Jewish Voice for Peace, said the protesting students are asking the university to divest from corporations participating in war profiteering including Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon.

She said: ‘We are asking our university to meet the demands on that side to divest from military contractors, to stop policing on campus, to name the genocide in Gaza and to protect its black and brown students.’

Asked about her thoughts on claims that Jewish students feel unsafe with the ongoing protests and those who claim they are anti-semitic, Kaplan responded: ‘What would validate antisemitism more than saying that Jewish people all want the destruction of Palestine?’

She said criticising the Israeli government or the Israeli state is not anti-semitic.

‘And we want to say no, it is not anti-semitic to criticise either. It is actually anti-semitic to imply that Jewish people need a state to be safe in the world.

‘We deserve to be safe wherever we live, right? We shouldn’t have to be pushed into a corner and murder people so that we can be safe,’ said Kaplan.

She called for a permanent ceasefire, an end to the violent military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza, and one state that is governed by the Palestinian people.

‘My instinct is just to say, stop bombing schools, stop bombing farms, stop bombing hospitals … The children of Gaza should have no price to pay,’ she added.

Richard, another student at the university, said he is protesting against his school’s complicity in the ‘genocide’ in Gaza.

He said: ‘This university has a lot of ties to weapons manufacturers who pretty much profit from all this destruction. And we want to see an end to that.’

Student-led protests demanding universities condemn Israel’s war on Gaza and divest from Israeli firms continue to spread, with new encampments being erected in the face of law enforcement crackdowns.

Last week’s decision by Columbia University to ask the New York Police Department to arrest dozens of protesters has largely served as a flashpoint for the wider protest movement.

Protests have been reported at a wide array of campuses including California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt; Yale University; the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities; Swarthmore College and the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania; the University of Rochester in New York; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tufts University and Emerson College in Massachusetts, and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.