Trump Cancels Chicago Rally; Protesters Celebrate
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump cancelled a rally in Chicago Friday evening, calling off the event due to safety concerns after protesters packed into the arena where it was to take place.
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.
Protesters are celebrating their success at keeping him from taking the stage.
Many of the protesters were chanting: "We stopped Trump! We stopped Trump!"
Others are shouting: "Racists, go home! Racists, go home!"
There were no apparent physical confrontations between the two sides as police officers on foot and horseback worked to keep them apart.
Meanwhile, spokesman for the Chicago Police Department says the agency never recommended that Trump cancel his campaign rally in the city.
CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tells The Associated Press that the department never told the campaign there was a security threat at the University of Illinois at Chicago venue. He said the department had sufficient manpower on the scene to handle any situation.
Guglielmi says the university's police department also did not recommend that Trump call off the event. He says the decision was made "independently" by the campaign.
Trump still has another weekend appearance scheduled in Illinois. His campaign website says Trump will appear in Bloomington-Normal, Sunday morning at 10 AM at the Synergy Flight Center at the Central Illinois Regional Airport. An EvenBrite page for the event says doors will open at 7 AM.
Trump's other campaign appearances before the March 15th primaries are in Dayton, Cleveland and Cincinnati in Ohio; Kansas City, Missouri; and Boca Raton and Doral in Florida.
Meanwhile, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has scheduled a rally Saturday at the University of Illinois Campus Activities and Recreation Center (also known as the ARC) in Champaign. Doors open for the event at 11 AM; the exact time of Sanders' appearance is not given on the Sanders campaign website.