Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has canceled a rally in Chicago after supporters and protesters clashed. It was the latest in a number of violent incidents that have occurred at Trump rallies.
The announcement that Republican candidate Donald Trump would postpone a rally led a large portion of the crowd inside the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion to break out into cheers, with people shouting "We dumped Trump." Meanwhile, supporters of the candidate started chanting "We want Trump! We want Trump!"
Before the announcement that Friday's event would not take place, several intense verbal clashes broke out between Trump supporters and his critics as the crowd waited for the billionaire's arrival.
There were also isolated physical confrontations between some members of the crowd after the event was canceled.
Trump said he didn't "want to see people hurt or worse" at his campaign rally in Chicago, so he decided to postpone the event. He told US news channel MSNBC, "I think we did the right thing."
Dozens of UIC faculty and staff had petitioned administrators to cancel the rally, saying that they were concerned that it would create a "hostile and physically dangerous environment" for students.
For the first time during his campaign, the crowd appeared to be an equal mix of those eager to cheer on Trump and those overtly opposed to his candidacy.
When one African-American protester was escorted out before the event started, the crowd started chanting "Let them stay!"
Veronica Kowalkowsky, an 18-year-old Trump supporter, said before the event that she had no ill will toward the protesters, but she added that she didn't think they felt the same way.
"I feel a lot of hate," she said. "I haven't said anything bad to anyone."
Several hours before the event was scheduled to begin, hundreds of people lined up outside the arena.
Trump supporters were separated from an equally large crowd of anti-Trump protesters by a heavy police presence and barricades.
Earlier this month, Trump called a violent episode involving a protester at one of his rallies "amazing to watch." He added that he had grown tired of political correctness when facing protesters' heckling during his speeches. During one interruption, the Republican Party front-runner said, "Get him out. Try not to hurt him. If you do I'll defend you in court."
There have been several allegations of black protesters being insulted and abused by Trump supporters at the candidate's campaign events.
av/sms (AFP, AP, Reuters)