Former Secretary of State and Nobel Peace Prize winner Henry Kissinger was called a “war criminal” and told to “rot in hell” by protesters disrupting his discussion Tuesday evening at New York University.
Mr. Kissinger, who served as national security adviser and secretary of state in the Nixon and Ford administrations, was invited to NYU’s Stern School of Business for a discussion on the 45th anniversary of receiving his Nobel Peace Prize.
Mr. Kissinger, 95, was interrupted several times by protesters accusing him of war crimes in Vietnam, Cambodia, Chile and Argentina.
“Are you telling me that you’re not a war criminal? That you do not deserve to go to jail for the crimes you have enacted?” one protester asked as she was being escorted out of the room, according to a video posted on Twitter and flagged by Campus Reform. “You deserve to answer to war crimes, to crimes against humanity. You deserve to go to jail and then rot in hell!”
About 100 protesters gathered outside the event chanting, “Hey, Kissinger, what do you say? How many kids have you killed today?” and holding signs that read, “Prosecute Kissinger” and “injustice must end,” the student-run Washington Square News reported.
The more than two dozen groups who organized the protest included NYC Democratic Socialists of America, NYU Against Fascism and the NYU branch of the International Socialist Organization.
“It’s important to talk about [the fact] that NYU thought that someone who represents the [United States] imperial project was an appropriate person to come,” organizer Grace Klein told Washington Square News. “I think that this shows very clear allegiances.”
A letter signed by the groups urging NYU to cancel the event accused Mr. Kissinger of being the architect of programs that killed “hundreds of thousands of people,” destabilized foreign nations and enabled “brutal, genocidal regimes.”
The university said it supported the free speech of the protesters but condemned the act of “shouting down” a speaker.
“The event went forward as planned, but during the course of it, there were a handful of brief interruptions; those who stood up and shouted were promptly escorted from the room by our public safety officers,” NYU spokesman John Beckman told Campus Reform on Wednesday.
“Our rules are clear: NYU values and respects dissent, but it is impermissible for dissent to take the form of shouting down an invited speaker,” Mr. Beckman added. “Those who do so make themselves subject to sanctions.”
Student Ben Zinevich, who attended Tuesday’s event, told NYU Local that Mr. Kissinger ignored the protesters and was protected by several guards as he came and went.
“Hey Kissinger what do you say? How many kids have you killed today?” shouted at Kissinger as he leaves. NYU Public Safety was actively protecting Kissinger. pic.twitter.com/i3qTq6c6G5
— Esor🌹 (@EsorFas) October 16, 2018
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