CHICAGO — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has cancelled a rally in Chicago, calling off the event due to safety concerns after protesters packed into the arena where it was to take place.
Trump released the following statement on his website:
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.
The announcement that Trump would postpone the rally for another day led the crowd inside the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion to break out into raucous cheers.
Meanwhile, supporters of the candidate broke out into chants of “We want Trump! We want Trump!”
There was no sign of Trump inside the arena on the college campus, where dozens of UIC faculty and staff had petitioned university administrators to cancel the rally.
They cited concerns it would create a “hostile and physically dangerous environment” for students.
Earlier that afternoon, many of those who were waiting in line to get into the event identified themselves as protesters.
UIC student G.J. Pryor said he wanted to disrupt Trump’s speech, adding he would only do so if he felt safe.
Some Trump supporters walking toward the arena chanted, “USA! USA!” and “Illegal is illegal.”
One demonstrator shouted back, “Racist!”
There was a heavy police presence outside the rally, with barricades and mounted police keeping most protesters and Trump supporters apart.
Trump supporter Veronica Kowalkowsky says she has no ill will toward the protesters.
But the 18-year-old says she has felt their ill will, adding: “I feel a lot of hate. I haven’t said anything bad to anyone.”
Before his appearance scheduled appearance in Chicago, Trump spoke in St. Louis where violence broke out.
According to KTLA, about a dozen people were detained.
One man was seen with a blood stained shirt and tissues inside his nose after getting hit in a skirmish outside, and another person was captured on video being arrested by cops.
Inside protesters were removed from the rally after interrupting the event.
“These people are so bad for our country, you have no idea, folks,” Trumps said as one protester was escorted out by officials. “They contribute nothing, nothing.”
“Go home to mommy,” he said as another protester was led away. “Go home, get a job.”
It’s just the latest stops in a campaign that has made headlines for such incidents.
In North Carolina, a person was arrested and charged after a video surfaced showing him hitting a protester.
On Friday, a reporter from Breitbart filed charges claiming Trump’s campaign manager grabbed and bruised her while she was trying to ask a question.
Another incident involved a Secret Service agent and a Time’s reporter.