Student outrage on both sides after Donald Trump cancels his rally

Lucas Koprowski, News Editor

CHICAGO— After Donald Trump cancelled his chicago rally, Bernie Sanders supporters crowded together in the center of the University of Illinois in Chicago Pavilion and celebrated his absence, chanting “We stopped trump” loudly and proud. Many Trump supporters felt that the protesters should be ashamed of themselves for their actions that night. Many of the supporters shouted at the protesters to “get a job.” Two held a Gadsden flag that read “Don’t Tread on Me”  towards the protestors.


Once the two groups started intertwining, fighting broke out from both sides and Chicago police had to break up and separate people to prevent harming each other.


Trump was supposed to attend the rally at 6 p.m. Friday evening, but after being 30 minutes late a spokesperson from Trump’s campaign announced his decision not to show because of safety concerns.


College of DuPage student and Trump supporter David Smith attended the rally and felt that Trump’s freedom of speech rights were infringed that night. “I didn’t want things to escalate; we left and that was it,” said Smith. “I don’t think any Trump supporter wanted violence. Everyone was smiling and having a good time before the rally. At the end of the rally you saw the protesters provokingly get into people’s faces and push them around. This event was supposed to represent the unity and strength of American values. What happened at the rally was a disgusting display of an attack on free speech.”


Protesters felt drastically different. There have been anti-Trump demonstrations in other states, but the Chicago protest was the first to stop the GOP presidential front-runner from appearing. . Most COD students the Courier interviewed at the protest declined to comment, DePaul University student Lynn Kannout said she protested because she believes Trump isn’t an actual candidate.


“In my eyes, Trump is not a legitimate candidate,” said Kannout. “He’s aggressive; he’s violent; he’s racist, and he advocates the harassment of the people who oppose him. He doesn’t even have any ideas. All his policies are extremely vague and surrounded by racist ideologies. If you actually listen to what he is saying, it doesn’t make any sense. He seems undereducated and ignorant every time he opens his mouth.


As stated on the Trump rally protest on the Chicago Facebook page, there were an estimated 11,000 people who showed up to protest the rally, and many took seats in the back of the pavilion. Kannout was one of the few protestors who was able to attend.


“I was standing on the ground floor, and after the rally got canceled I stuck around and celebrated and protested with the people against Trump,” said Kannout. “I had a guy come up to me and roommate (he assumed we were African American because of our dark skin) and yell, ‘All lives matter.’ I calmly tried to explain to him that obviously all lives matter, but in this time in history, black lives aren’t being given the equal attention they deserve around the world.

“He began to push me and my roommate,” Kannot continued. We began to push back, and one of our male friends got in between us and had to push the man away because it looked like he was about to swing. I continued to protest when we got outside and stuck around to see the police get aggressive. I saw a female officer hit a male African American that clearly had been pushed into her on accident. The officer hit the man in the head with her stick, and he started bleeding and couldn’t get up.”


Smith saw the protest differently, believing that the way the protesters handled the event was unjust. “I support the right to protest, but when you take away the right to someone’s free speech and the right to assemble it’s wrong,” said Smith. “It’s a display of the growing liberal fascism that’s spurring in this country, and the fact that protesters were blocking ambulances and traffic and hurting our officers, well I think that explains for itself what animals those protesters are. It was an organized attack on free speech,  complete disregard for the law and rights of others.”


Kannout disagrees with Smith, believing that Trump supporters started the conflict by Trump kicking them out of the rally for voicing their own opinion.


“It’s important to remember that both sides have the freedom of speech,” said Kannout. “At no point did we force Trump not to talk, that was his own decision. We were simply there to voice our opinion, as was he. The Trump supports began attacking us first, and it was our right to respond. We were being kicked out for voicing our opinions, so if anything it was an attack on our free speech. When it comes to protesters versus the police, the aggression began when police started to forcefully push back protesters resulting in many injured people.”


Trump postponed his rally to Sunday, March 13, in Bloomington, Ill..