Threat of Violence Forces Trump to Postpone Event in Chicago

Trump Rally Cancelled Over Safety Fears
A Trump supporter yells at demonstrators at a rally that was canceled in Chicago on March 11. Kamil Krzaczynski/Reuters

Updated | CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump canceled a rally scheduled for Friday night in Chicago after the event turned into a chaotic scene with the thousands of attendees split into opposing camps of supporters of the Republican front-runner and protesters inflamed by his candidacy.

A Trump campaign staffer took the stage nearly a half hour after the rally was slated to begin and said it would be postponed for safety reasons. A campaign statement issued slightly later said the event would be held on another day.

On Saturday, the news website reported that Trump canceled an Ohio rally because of security issues at the venue, the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati. A spokeswoman Trump on Saturday denied the report. news website had quoted Eric Deters, a local spokesman for Trump's campaign, as saying the candidate's Secret Service security detail could not complete preparations in time to hold the event on Sunday. But Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks said in an email: "We don't know Eric Deters. There has been no cancellation."

Following the announcement Friday in Chicago, the crowd began to chant and cheer. Scuffles broke out as signs were ripped from hands and police moved in to break up areas with the most serious conflicts.

Cries of "We dumped Trump! We dumped Trump!" rose inside the University of Illinois atChicago pavilion where the event was held.

An opposing group yelled: "We want Trump! We want Trump!"

Protesters Force Cancelation of Donald Trump Rally
Protesters are escorted out of UIC Pavilion before Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's rally. Kamil Krzaczynski/Reuters

Outside the pavilion, chants of "We shut it down!" rippled through the crowd on news of the cancellation.

Trump decided to postpone the event after arriving in Chicago and meeting with law enforcement, his campaign said.

Chicago activists had spent the week leading up to the rally planning how to disrupt it.

One group, Showing Up for Racial Justice, coordinated with minority student groups on local campuses, using group email chains and messaging so that protesters could stay in constant communication.

One of the organizers, Nathaniel Lewis, 25, a master's degree student in public health at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said he was shocked they succeeded in shutting the rally down.

"I'm happy, I'm at peace because we came together as a collective," Lewis told Reuters. "This is the last thing we expected to happen, it shows the power of unity."

The candidate put up a brief statement on his website saying "please go in peace."

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.

Thank you very much for your attendance and please go in peace.

Photos taken from a helicopter showed the streets around the planned rally filling with protesters and Trump supporters leaving the rally.

Trump supporters leaving UIC after he canceled are on the left and protestors are on the right

— Jessyca Malina (@jessycamalina) March 12, 2016
Demonstrators celebrate after Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump cancelled his rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago March 11, 2016. Kamil Krzaczynski/Reuters

Crowd going nuts in Chicago after @realDonaldTrump rally officially "postponed"

— Caitlin Dickson (@CEDickson) March 12, 2016

This article has been updated with a report that Trump canceled an event in Ohio and a campaign spokeswoman denying the report.