Donald Trump rally which was billed to hold in Chicago had to be canceled on Friday following scenes of violence and chaos never seen before in the recent history of American political campaigning.
The scrapping of the Republican front-runner’s appearance owing to what his campaign claimed as “safety concerns” led to clashes inside the University of Illinois Chicago Pavilion and in the streets outside.
Fights broke out between Trump supporters, protesters and police, and a number of arrests were made, including of at least one press man. As the uproar became serious, Trump was reduced to complaining about the situation on the air, telling MSNBC: “It’s sad when you can’t have a rally. Whatever happened to freedom of speech?”
The rally was to take place at a university that is one of the most diverse in the country, at a venue situated in the heart of Chicago, a Democratic stronghold where there are few registered Republicans.
Before the rally even began, the drama for the evening was started as protesters inside the pavilion voiced their opposition to the presidential candidate’s positions on immigration, race and other issues where his rhetoric has proven divisive.
The shouts on both sides were often crude and vulgar. Trump supporters yelled “Go back to Univision” at Hispanic people and hurled a racially charged insult at an African American woman; while those opposed to the candidate shouted “Fuck Donald Trump” and taunted police officers.
Police paced the arena stairs holding sheaves of plastic handcuffs amid fraught but as yet non-violent scenes. Attendees grabbed signs from each other’s hands and several dozen people had to be removed from the event long before formalities were scheduled to begin. At least one section of young people was cleared out by police long before the event began, including many of Middle Eastern appearance. “Just because I look like them doesn’t mean I’m with them,” said one.
Then it was later announced that Trump wasn’t going to make his appearance, this caused an eruption of chaos in the arena.
College students shouted “We shut it down” while loyal supporters of the Republican front-runner shouted “We want Trump”.
After the postponement was announced a Trump campaign statement said: “Mr Trump just arrived in Chicago and after meeting with law enforcement has determined that for the safety of all of the tens of thousands of people that have gathered in and around the arena, tonight’s rally will be postponed to another date.
“Thank you very much for your attendance and please go in peace.”
Even though Trump’s statement claimed that he had consulted law enforcement, the Chicago police department denied any involvement in the decision.
There is a growing occurrence of violence at Trump events. In the past week alone an attack on a non-violent protester led to criminal charges against a Trump supporter, and Michelle Fields, a reporter for conservative website Breitbart, was allegedly assaulted by Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s campaign manager.
The protesters had succeeded in their goal for the evening, as one Violet Ornelas, 28, gleefully told the Guardian: “If he can’t even handle Chicago, what makes him think he could handle Isis?”
Source: The GuardianyD