Two Donald Trump rallies – one in Saint Louis and one in Chicago – were marred by violence on Friday, with violent clashes erupting between protesters in Saint Louis resulting in arrests, and “volatile” crowds of protesters in Chicago forcing the Trump rally to be shut down.
As the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch reports, violence erupted outside a Trump rally at the city’s Peabody Opera House, while inside, protesters were being carried out by law enforcement as the crowd applauded and Trump jeered at them.
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Inside the Trump rally, some 3,000 supporters cheered on the polarizing candidate, as he touted his plans for health care, foreign policy, and a giant wall along the Mexican border. From time to time, protesters would shout over him, and police would escort them out. Trump, from behind the microphone, jeered at the protesters.
“Get him outta here, he’s all mouth!”
“Go home to Mommy!”
“This is more exciting than (just) having a speech. Beautiful, it’s like intermission. Was that exciting? You had a good time, right?”
All told, at least 32 people were arrested in Saint Louis, mostly for disturbing the peace. Twenty-nine of those arrests occurred within the auditorium, but three were arrested outside the rally, including at least one person arrested for assault.
Post-Dispatch writer Kevin McDermott described “intense back-and-forth verbal confrontations” between Trump supporters and Trump opponents, with a few exchanges devolving into fisticuffs. A white man was restrained by the crowd after he shoved an African-American woman. Two men, one bloodied, were carried away by cops. And police used themselves to form a barricade between the two opposing groups.
Later Friday, in Chicago, things were so bad that a scheduled Trump rally had to be cancelled, according to CNN.
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Trump was scheduled to speak at the University of Illinois at Chicago, but tens of thousands of protesters turned up, inside and outside the venue. Eventually, Trump’s campaign made the decision to postpone the rally.
— Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) March 12, 2016
Meanwhile, before and after the announcement, protesters and supporters continued to clash with each other, often exchanging shoves and punches. At least six people were injured, including two police officers.
Trump has since taken to Twitter to express his displeasure at the way things played out in Chicago.
The organized group of people, many of them thugs, who shut down our First Amendment rights in Chicago, have totally energized America!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 12, 2016
Speaking to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, Trump went on to explain, according to The Epoch Times, that the protests at his rallies are representative of a deep divide in this country.
“We have a country that’s so divided that even you don’t understand it. I’ve never seen anything like it, and this has been going on for years. There’s a lot of anger in the country, and it’s very sad to see actually.”
In fact, violence and Trump rallies seemingly go hand-in-hand these days, according to this Inquisitr report. At a Wednesday rally in North Carolina, for example, a Trump supporter sucker-punched an African American protester, as the crowd erupted into cheers.
Trump, for his part, admits that violence seems to be a regular part of his rallies.
“You can’t even have a rally in this country anymore without violence. think a lot of people think that it was wrong that we were stopped. We can’t have a rally in a major city in this country! What happened to the right to free speech?”
According to the Trump campaign’s website, Donald Trump has upcoming rallies schedule for today in Cleveland and Dayton, Ohio, and tonight in Kansas City, Missouri.
[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]