Our nation’s deep political divide played out Friday night between protesters and rally goers at a Chicago college campus, keeping Donald Trump from taking the stage at a major rally for the Republican front runner.
Protesters and Trump supporters clashed in periodic volatile exchanges inside the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion, after witch Trump cancelled the event citing security concerns.
A roar of simultaneous cheers and boos exploded upon the announcement being made. Ultimately both sides faced off in the corner of the Pavilion chanting and shouting at each other.
In an interview with MSNBC hours after the cancellation, Trump said he “felt that it was just safer” to cancel the event.
“Rather than having everybody get in and mix it up,” Trump said, “I thought it would be a wise thing, after speaking with law enforcement, a wise thing to postpone the rally.”
The air was thick with tension in the hours leading up to the event.
Chicago Northsider Tom Keevers was rattled by the cancellation of the event blaming the protestors for causing a stir and ruckus prior to the rally.
“It’s these Black Lives Matter protestors. They’re out here protesting when outside in this neighborhood thousands of blacks are shooting each other every year,” Keevers said. “Trump just wants to make a speech. That’s all.”
Demonstrators were jubilant at the when the announcement was made. UIC graduate student Nathaniel Lewis exchanged hugs and high fives with fellow protestors.
“I feel so at peace,” Lewis said. “I feel so much love in this room for people who can come together and fight for a common goal.”
People from both sides of the divide flooded the streets to continue their protests and express their displeasure with the other side.
Some tried to calmly discuss their differences amidst the shouting. Trump supporter Tyler B. and protester Cristin Carole found a place to talk in the parking garage. They said they were dismayed by what they were seeing.
“I’m really upset about the divisiveness on display here. I don’t think it looks for either side,” Tyler said. “There’s a lot of unwillingness to talk about it. That’s why I think this conversation was so refreshing.”
Despite all the negativity Carole said she had hope people could work out their differences.
“This young man is intelligent,” she said. “Just that he’s a thinking soul has given me hope.”
(Tyler has requested his name be removed from this article)