The GOP frontrunner decided to cancel the rally due to security concerns after large groups of protestors took to the streets in an anti-trump movement, the Associated Press reports.
“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,” a statement from Trump’s campaign reportedly said. “Thank you very much for you attendance and please go in peace.”
The AP adds that once Trump announced the event was postponed, protestors cheered while supporters of the real-estate mogul began a chant of their own: “We want Trump!”
According to the Chicago Tribune, protestors did appear inside the University of Illinois-Chicago Pavilion prior to Trump’s scheduled arrival but were removed. There were also scenes of violent scuffles breaking out captured live by cable news services.
Moments before an official announced that Trump would not continue with tonight’s rally, a female protestor reportedly yelled “F— Trump” as she held a “No Hate” sign. In response, supporters in the upper level of the Pavilion threw debris at her, the Tribune reports.
While tensions ran high as fans and foes awaited Trumps arrival, the Tribune reports that concerns over the rally started long before Friday when a student leader questioned how security was going to be handled and who would finance it. The student reportedly started a petition that received more than 40,00 signatures.
24 hours before the scheduled rally, Latino community leaders set up a 24-hour vigil, the newspaper adds.
Holding up a sign that traded a swastika for the “u” in Republican, a Chicago native and city paramedic Deirdre Fennessy told the publication “Chicagoans don’t want him here.”
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However, rally goers expressed different sentiments, telling the Tribune that they weren’t “paying attention” to the protestors.
Lately, Trump rallies have been at the center of conversation as they continue to incite protests and violent backlash. At a recent event, a supporter of the billionaire businessman was arrested after punching a protestor in the face.
According to CNN, 78-year-old John McGraw was taken into custody at a North Carolina rally, and said in an interview following the event that the protestor “deserved it.”
“The next time we see him, we might have to kill him. We don’t know who he is. He might be with a terrorist organization,” McGraw said, adding that the man was not acting “like an American.”
Despite calling some protestors “bad dudes,” who “have done bad things,” Trump said at the last GOP debate that he does not condone violent behavior.