Donald Trump’s presidential campaign postponed a planned Friday rally in Chicago after clashes between protesters and supporters inside the venue and demonstrators gathered outside the event.
“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,” the campaign said in a statement, asking that those who were waiting for the candidate to arrive to “please go in peace.”
The rally was being staged at the University of Illinois Chicago’s UIC Pavilion, where fights broke out between those supporting Trump and those who came to protest his candidacy, according to CBS News.
According to the Associated Press, 31 people were arrested at a Trump rally earlier in the day in St. Louis for disturbing the peace.
At the Chicago event, CNN showed footage of fistfights between demonstrators and supporters after the announcement was made that Trump would not appear. Before the rally, some demonstrators were taken out of the arena.
The Trump campaign has been running pre-event announcements to rally crowds asking them not to touch any demonstrators, but there has been concern over violence breaking out. A man was charged with “sucker punching” a demonstrator at a North Carolina rally earlier this week.
On Friday, a reporter for Breitbart News, Michelle Fields, filed a police report after she claimed that Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, grabbed her as she was attempting to ask a question after Trump’s Tuesday press conference, held at Trump National Golf Course in Jupiter, Fla. Lewandowski, and Trump’s campaign denies it.
The Jupiter Police Department said that it is conducting a misdemeanor battery investigation.
At the debate on Thursday, CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Trump whether he believes that he’s “done anything to create a tone where this kind of violence would be encouraged.”
Trump responded, “I hope not. I truly hope not. I will say this. … People come with tremendous passion and love for the country, and …when they see what’s going on in this country, they have anger that’s unbelievable. They have anger.”
But Trump’s rhetoric at his rallies have played to the emotions and passions of the crowds. At a rally in Las Vegas before the Nevada caucus, he said as one protester was being ejected, “I’d like to punch him in the face.”
Trump’s Republican rivals each condemned the violence at Trump’s events. “Words have consequences,” said Marco Rubio.
Ted Cruz said, “A campaign bears responsibility for creating an environment when the candidate urges supporters to engage in physical violence.”
John Kasich said in a statement, “Tonight the seeds of division that Donald Trump has been sowing this whole campaign finally bore fruit, and it was ugly. Some let their opposition to his views slip beyond protest into violence, but we can never let that happen. I urge people to resist that temptation and rise to a higher level.”
Hillary Clinton issued a statement saying that “the divisive rhetoric we are seeing should be of grave concern to us all.”