Protesters at University of Chicago Take Over Institute of Politics Building

Pro-Palestinian protesters stormed the Institute of Politics building at the University of Chicago on Friday afternoon, overturning furniture, damaging property and confronting the institute’s director, former Senator Heidi Heitkamp. She refused their demand that she leave her office, university officials said, adding that she was the only staff member in the building.

The demonstration continued into the evening outside the institute, about two blocks from where a protest encampment was removed by campus police last week.

In a statement, the protest group on Friday said that it had occupied the building to protest the University of Chicago’s ties to Israel. Bystander video showed protesters climbing through second-floor windows to leave the building as the crowd below cheered.

After demonstrators were cleared from the building by the police, other protesters remained outside and in yards nearby, chanting, yelling and pounding drums.

Jeremy Manier, a university spokesman, said in a statement that protesters had tried to block the entrance of the building, damaged property and ignored orders from law enforcement officials to leave.

“The University of Chicago is fundamentally committed to upholding the rights of protesters to express a wide range of views,” he said. “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.”

A sign identifying the Institute of Politics building was covered with a cardboard placard that read “permanent cease-fire now,” and a set of demands were hung from the building. Among the demands was “abolish the university.”

Jeremy W. Peters contributed reporting.

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