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Friday, June 21, 2024

Anti-Israel Protestors Occupy Building at the University of Chicago

'At the same time, university policies make it clear that protests cannot jeopardize public safety, disrupt the university’s operations or involve the destruction of property...'

(Headline USA) A group protesting the war in Gaza and demanding that the University of Chicago divest from companies doing business with Israel took over a building on the school’s campus.

Members of the group surrounded the Institute of Politics building around 5 p.m. Friday while others made their way inside, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The occupation came as other colleges across the country, anxious to prepare for commencement season, either negotiated agreements with students or called in police to dismantle protest camps.

The Chicago protest follows the May 7 clearing of a pro-Palestinian tent encampment at the school by police. University of Chicago administrators had initially adopted a permissive approach, but said earlier this month that the protest had crossed a line and caused growing concerns about safety.

On Friday, campus police officers using riot shields gained access to the Institute of Politics building and scuffled with protesters. Some protesters climbed from a second-floor window, according to the Sun-Times.

The school said protesters attempted to bar the entrance, damaged university property and ignored directives to clear the way, and that those inside the building left when campus police officers entered.

“The University of Chicago is fundamentally committed to upholding the rights of protesters to express a wide range of views,” school spokesperson Gerald McSwiggan said in a statement. “At the same time, university policies make it clear that protests cannot jeopardize public safety, disrupt the university’s operations or involve the destruction of property.”

No arrests or injuries were reported.

More than 2,900 people have been arrested on U.S. campuses over the past month.

Despite an immediate uproar in protests at the outbreak of the war, as summer break approaches, there have been fewer new arrests and campuses have been calmer.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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