What Donald Trump can expect to see in Chicago is the largest protest against his presidential candidacy to date.
Around 50,000 people signed a MoveOn.org petition to protest Trump’s visit to the University of Illinois at Chicago. The protest will take place at a parking lot across from the UIC Pavilion.
How many will physically show up to protest is unknown.
If you look at the history of protest in this city, it shows that we have mobilized some of the biggest protests in modern U.S. history.
For the 1968 Democratic Convention tens of thousands protested the Vietnam War. Police beat and gassed demonstrators in what was called “The Battle of Michigan Avenue.”
Ten years ago, an estimated 300,000 to 400,000 people flooded the streets of downtown Chicago to protest proposed anti-immigration legislation that would have criminalized assistance to the undocumented.
Thousands protested in the summer of 2012 during the NATO Summit held in Chicago.
The protest Friday is expected to include Latinos upset at Trump’s xenophobic statements about Mexicans and immigrants, supporters of the #BlackLivesMatter movement and union members.
Students and faculty from the university also are expected to protest the decision to rent the venue to the Trump campaign.
The university has declined to cancel the event.
“The University of Illinois at Chicago is not endorsing, sponsoring or supporting any candidate for political office. At the same time, it has been our standard practice for decades to rent available space on campus to any political candidate when requested,” said Chancellor Michael D. Amiridis in a statement.
Protesters include U.S. Congressman Luis Gutierrez and members of the Latino civil rights organization, LULAC.
“We don’t want to remain silent because then we become accomplices,” Congressman Luis Gutierrez told WGN News Thursday night.
It’s a certainty that some protesters will enter the Trump rally. Tickets were readily available on Trump’s campaign website.
Some Chicagoans also reserved tickets to prevent Trump supporters from going, and they do not plan to attend the rally at all.
The question is whether there will be any attacks on protesters like the one that occurred Wednesday where a young African-American man was punched in the face in North Carolina. Last week 30 African-American students were ejected from a Trump rally at their university in Georgia.
Indeed, verbal and physical assaults on protesters and even journalists have been documented at numerous Trump rallies. White supremacists have attended and even broadcasted from Trump rallies.
I hope there will be no violent confrontations.
But the number of protesters inside and outside the Trump rally could become unmanageable.
In a diverse city like Chicago, a city proud of its immigrant history, a city that has been at the forefront of the civil rights movement, it is hard to imagine that Trump has many supporters.
But he won’t find much love in the “City of Big Shoulders.”