CHICAGO (CBS) — Activists seeking a trauma center at the University of Chicago Medical Center have demanded the immediate release of nine protesters who were arrested Wednesday night after barricading themselves inside school’s administration building.

The protesters locked themselves inside Levi Hall, 5801 S. Ellis Av., by securing the doors with bicycle locks. They also disabled the elevators, and said they would not come out until the university president agreed to meet them to discuss opening a trauma center.

The university called in the Chicago Fire Department to break through a wall and window. Firefighters used a power saw, axes, and crowbars to get into the building. Nine protesters were led away in handcuffs.

Activist Natalie Naculich laughed when asked why the protesters shouldn’t face charges, since it seemed they wanted to get arrested.

“I think that, because these students and community members are standing up for what is right, and standing up for holding up the importance of black lives, and the need for a trauma center on the South Side, they don’t deserve charges,” she said.

For several years, activists have been urging the University of Chicago to create a Level 1 adult trauma center on its hospital campus, noting the South Side of the city has no such facility. The has a pediatric trauma center, and has expanded care there to cover 16- and 17-year-olds.

Protesters have said adults who have been shot or suffered other major injuries on the South Side have died because there is no trauma center in the area. Every trauma center in the city of Chicago is located on the North Side or West Side. Many victims of serious injuries on the South Side end up going to the Level 1 trauma center at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.

Activist Jasmine Harris has been involved in the fight for an adult trauma center at the University of Chicago Medical Center for years.

“We’re like, ‘Wow, how could you ignore us when we’re dying at your door?’” she said.

The university has said it is conducting a feasibility study regarding an adult trauma center.

As for the protesters University spokesman Jeremy Manier defended the decision to bring in the firefighters to expel such a small group, saying in a statement that the protest blocked the only handicapped-accessible entrance to Levi Hall and blocked access to its fire emergency panel.

Manier said two deans on call offered to speak with the protesters, who declined the offer. The protesters said in Facebook and Twitter posts that they demanded to speak with University President Robert Zimmer.

Protesters have promised more acts of civil disobedience during Alumni Weekend, which runs from Thursday through Sunday.

They also have sought input on the school’s feasibility study regarding a trauma center, and have demanded the university immediately begin treating trauma patients as old as 21 in the pediatric emergency room.

The protesters identified those detained as Kelvin Ho, Greg Goodman, Victoria Crider, Caroline Wooten, Veronica Morris Moore, Alex Goldenberg, Jackie Spreadbury, Michal David, and University of Chicago graduate student Emilio Comay Del Junco.