Trump Rally Canceled After Thousands Show Up to Protest

Thousands of anti-Trump activists stormed the university location where the GOP frontrunner was set to deliver a speech.

Photo Credit: News Universe Channel/YouTube

Donald Trump was scheduled to speak at the University of Illinois-Chicago Pavilion at 6pm on Thursday. While the GOP frontrunner’s rallies notoriously attract tens of thousands, this time Trump supporters were met with equal opposition. Over 10,000 officially RSVP’d that they would be going to the university to protest the free event—nearly 1,000 people more than the arena seats.

Protesters seen being escorted out of the venue around 5pm wore shirts reading “Muslims United Against Trump” and “Make America Hate Again” as the croud chanted “U-S-A!”

The Chicago Police Department, Chicago Fire Department, Secret Service and FBI had all been called on to maintain the crowds as protesters lined up across the street. Ahead of Trump’s Chicago campaign stop, more than 50,000 people signed a moveon.org petition in an attempt to get the event canceled, saying it had no place in Chicago, “especially not at an institution of higher learning.”

Protesters cited Trump’s stances on immigration, torture tactics and his recent endorsement from white supremacist David Duke as motive.

During Thursday’s 12th GOP debate, Trump told CNN’s Jake Tapper that he does not condone the frequent violence at his rallies, despite having said he’d “like to punch [a protester] in the face.”

Trump refuses to admit that this rhetoric fuels his base, which frequently uses minorites as targets during events. According to Trump, it’s not hatred that fuels these outbursts, but love. “When [fans] see the protests and what’s going on in this country, they have anger that’s unbelievable. They love this country,” Trump said.

After many of the protesters left, the scene was oddly calm. The reality TV star-turned-politician had yet to arrive. In the meantime, 20somethings chatted in a college auditorium to a soundtrack composed of classic rock tunes. “You can’t always get what you want,” the Rolling Stones sang.

A Trump campaign aide took to the stage, saying, “Mr. Trump just arrived in Chicago and after meeting with law enforcement has determined that for the safety of the tens of thousands of people that have gathered in and around the arena, tonight’s rally will be postponed until another day,” he told the crowd.

Chalk one up for the anti-Trumpists.

Alexandra Rosenmann is an AlterNet associate editor. Follow her @alexpreditor.

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