Rahm Emanuel rushed off stage by protesters

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Rahm Emanuel Inauguration day Monday January 21, 2013

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was forced off the stage at a budget hearing Wednesday night by protesters angry over the closing of a Chicago high school.

Halfway through a public budget hearing, protesters began chanting and then a handful jumped up on the stage with Emanuel, according to The Chicago Tribune. Emanuel’s security quickly surrounded him and then escorted him backstage. They later canceled the hearing.

Protesters have been on a hunger strike for 17 days trying to keep open Dyett High School in Chicago.

Tribune City Hall reporter Bill Ruthhart tweeted the scene from the room Wednesday night, “Demonstrators continue to take over the room at Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s budget hearing. Emanuel remains backstage.”

A call for comment to Emanuel’s press office was not immediately returned Wednesday night.

Hunger strikers have been protesting the closing of Dyett amid a school consolidation spurred by Chicago budget woes. The school is set to be closed for a year while the city decides what to do next.

Emanuel was forced into a run-off battle this year with Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, a liberal Democrat backed by the city’s poorer residents and minorities who felt shut out by Emanuel. Emanuel, who wielded the support of more moderate Democrats and the business community, bested Garcia 56%-44%.