Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump cancelled one of his signature rallies on Friday, calling off the event due to safety concerns after protesters packed the arena where he was scheduled to speak.
The announcement the billionaire businessman would postpone the rally led a large portion of the crowd inside the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion to break out into raucous cheers. Many rushed onto the floor, jumping up and down with their arms up in the air. “Trump represents everything America is not and everything Chicago is not,” said Kamran Siddiqui, 20, a student at the school. “We came in here and we wanted to shut this down. Because this is a great city and we don’t want to let that person in here.”
Some supporters of the Republican front-runner started chanting “We want Trump! We want Trump!” in response to the celebrations, and there were some isolated physical confrontations between members of the crowd. Chicago police said five people were arrested. “It’s a shame,” said Trump supporter Bill Tail, 43. “They scream about tolerance, but are being intolerant themselves. That doesn’t make sense.”
As Trump attempts to unify a fractured Republican Party ahead of next week’s slate of winner-take-all primary elections, the confrontations between his legion of loyal supporters and protesters who accuse him of stoking racial hatred have become increasingly contentious, underscoring concerns about the divisive nature of his candidacy. A North Carolina man was arrested after video footage showed him punching an African-American protester being led out of a Trump rally in that state on Wednesday. At that event, Mr Trump recalled a past protester as “a real bad dude.” Read more