Chicagoans of all backgrounds protested at the Donald Trump rally Friday night.
Who were the some of people who protested inside and outside the rally?
They came from all racial and ethnic backgrounds. And they were there to voice their opposition to a candidate that they said has stirred hate, xenophobia and division in the U.S.
Thousands of protesters, driven largely by students at the University of Illinois at Chicago, marched outside the rally. They gathered earlier in the afternoon with handmade signs on the campus quad.
One sign read, “Yes I am a Mexican. No I’m not a criminal, rapist or drug dealer.”
Another sign read, “Dump Trump. No KKK. NO fascist USA,” and “Will trade Trump for 1 million refugees.”
Many were upset that the public university with a diverse student body rented space to Trump at all.
The student population there is 41.9 percent white, 18.8 percent Asian, 18.6 percent Hispanic/Latino and 7.9 percent African-American. There also is a significant Muslim student population.
“We’re all about diversity,” said Tara Levins, 19, who said she didn’t understand why Trump would want to hold the event on their campus instead of at his hotel.
“Why not go to the Trump tower?” she asked.
Areli Quintana, 19, a first year student at UIC, agreed.
“I’m really disappointed he chose our school,” Quintana said.
Ryan Blocker, 24, a student at the School of the Art Institute at Chicago, was among the protesters gathered in a parking lot across the street from the rally location.
He said he and others were there in response to the hate and xenophobia that Trump espouses.
“I thought I wouldn’t see this kind of racism in my lifetime,” Blocker said.
His parents and grandparents grew up in the South and he thought that open racism from a politician was a thing of the past.
“I never thought I would see an unapologetic white supremacist run for president,” Blocker said.
At the rally before the protest Congressman Luis Gutierrez spoke out against Trump.
“No to Donald Trump hate speech in Chicago!” he shouted to protesters.
Also there was Kate Kinser, who also protested during the Democratic Convention in Chicago in 1968. She was arrested then for protesting the Vietnam War.
She said today’s attacks on immigrants by Trump need to be protested by all.
“Everybody knows somebody who is an immigrant,” she said.
Shortly before 5 p.m. thousands of students marched towards the UIC Pavilion where the Trump rally was scheduled. But by then hundreds of protesters, including students, had already entered the building.
They easily entered the event with tickets reserved from Trump’s campaign website that were still available online Friday afternoon.
There were some fistfights inside the rally, according to news reports. I was outside the rally, and did not witness any fights but saw passionate protesters.
Some Trump supporters shouted at the protesters outside, “America is not racist. We have Obama,” and “Go get a job!”
Several thousand people were still waiting to get inside the rally when Chicago police announced to those in line the event was cancelled.
A short time later people started pouring out of the rally with their fists in the air.
Protesters on the other side of the barricades started cheering.