Donald Trump canceled a rally in Chicago tonight after thousands of protesters and supporters began confronting each other at the University of Illinois at Chicago pavilion, with both sides yelling at each other and clashing with police.
Trump said he was afraid violence might erupt. Reports say 32 people were arrested and several injured during clashes earlier in the day at a Trump rally in St. Louis. But canceling the rally in Chicago produced a melee where protesters and supporters struggled with both each other and the police.
Protesters, many students at the University of Illinois at Chicago, gathered to speak up against Trump for his statements about Mexican immigrants and Muslims. And confrontations between protesters and supporters ensued:
In St. Louis earlier Friday, 32 people were arrested and at least one was bloodied after protests interrupted a Trump rally. And Trump continued to blame the violence on economic issues and "a lot of anger in the country."
"There are two sides," he told MSNBC's Chris Matthews. "Some of these protesters are very dangerous people … You say they need the right to protest and that's fine with me … Frankly when the side that let's say, is not necessarily known as the protester, when they get tough, it ends up being a front-page story. When the protester gets tough nobody ever writes it."
Trump's rivals for the Republican nomination weighed in on the protest:
Marco Rubio on Fox News: "I guarantee you some of these [protesters] are being paid to do it."— Alex Seitz-Wald (@aseitzwald) March 12, 2016
Cruz calls tonight's violence in Chicago a "predictable consequence" of Trump's rhetoric and posture toward protestors.— Teddy Schleifer (@teddyschleifer) March 12, 2016
Cruz today on violence at Trump rallies: "there’s no doubt that a candidate bears responsibility for the culture that is set from the top"— Sara Murray (@SaraMurray) March 12, 2016