PI Original Ellyn Fortino Saturday March 12th, 2016, 12:08am

Protesters Shut Down Donald Trump's Chicago Campaign Event (VIDEO)

Progress Illinois reports on the mass protests held against Donald Trump in Chicago late Friday, which forced the GOP presidential frontrunner to cancel his planned campaign event at the UIC Pavilion for safety reasons.

Mass protests targeting businessman Donald Trump in Chicago forced the GOP presidential contender to cancel his Friday event at the UIC Pavilion over "safety" concerns.

Anti-Trump protesters demonstrated inside and outside the pavilion, located at 525 S. Racine Ave.

Rally-goers described the scene inside the venue as chaotic. There were reportedly clashes between Trump supporters and opponents.

"People just completely went crazy on both sides screaming," said Quentin Heilbroner.

"Inside it was complete chaos," added another attendee, David Hodgson. "A protester came and got on Trump's podium, and he got tackled and taken out. And then just the south side of the whole gymnasium was just full of people of color, I guess, ... and they planned to come in and ruin Trump's rally. And they sure as heck made it happen."

Hodgson said he was "disappointed" Trump was unable to deliver his speech.

"It would have been interesting to hear what his thoughts were and what he was about, but it is what it is," he said.

Heilbroner, on the other hand, called Trump "terrible." Heilbroner attended the event, he said, "out of curiosity to witness the rise of fascism in America."

Others were mad at demonstrators for shutting down the event.

"I'm upset because we didn't get to hear someone speak, and that person was denied his right to freedom of speech, because it was interrupted by people who were intimidating, harassing and creating community unrest" inside the pavilion, said rally attendee Christopher, who declined to give his last name.

After the event was canceled, protesters stormed the streets. Some made their way onto a westbound ramp to the Eisenhower Expressway at Racine Avenue and Van Buren Street. The group briefly attempted to block traffic on the highway before police forced them back onto the ramp.

There were scuffles between police and protesters. Progress Illinois witnessed at least one person taken into police custody, though the circumstances of the incident were unclear. An officer with Chicago police news affairs said they arrested two protesters, while Illinois state police took in one person and UIC police have two others in custody.

Chicago Fire Department officials say they took three individuals, including two civilians and one police officer, to the hospital. The three people are reportedly in good condition.

Earlier Friday, Trump held a campaign event in St. Louis that also turned chaotic. At least 30 people were arrested at that rally, mostly for disturbing the peace. One person was charged with third-degree assault.

Prior to Trump's Chicago event being canceled, the protest outside the pavilion was peaceful. Activists held "Dump Trump" signs and chanted, "Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Donald Trump has got to go!"

Barbara Schmidt toted a "Make America Sane Again" poster -- a play on Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan.

"We are a nation that works best when compromise is possible, and based upon the language that he's using, I don't think compromise is possible if he's elected. Compromise is pretty much out the window now as it is, but it just seems even more impossible," Schmidt said. "Let's bring some sanity back to the process. Let's be tolerant of one another."

Jeinne Edmondson was among the Trump supporters waiting in a line wrapped around the UIC Pavilion to get into the event. 

"We're the silent majority. We're not haters. We love people. And we're tired of constantly being marginalized," she said. "We never can say our opinion, and when we do, we're called haters. And we're not haters. We love everybody."

Edmondson said she agrees with Trump's stances on border control. 

"We're going to have to secure our borders to find out who's coming into our country. It's a very dangerous situation that we're in right now," Edmondson said. "As much as we love people, we got to be careful."

Many immigrant advocates at the protest -- including Latino elected officials U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL,4) and Chicago Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th) -- rebuked Trump for his "hateful speech."

Trump has called Mexican immigrants criminals and rapists, for example. 

"I would just say that some of Donald Trump supporters are members of the KKK, and when he was asked to denounce them, he hesitated," Gutierrez told reporters, adding that "it must say something about the sugar that he's putting out there that he's attracting them. This kind of hate speech needs to be responded to."

Gutierrez was referring to Trump's recent endorsement from David Duke, and the GOP frontrunner's initial hesitation to disavow the former KKK grand wizard's support.

Lopez, meanwhile, slammed Trump for his hardline immigration policy proposals. Trump wants to deport all 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.

"I am here because hate does not win an election; hate wins a headline. I say enough of the Trump headlines," Lopez said. "I say, if we're gonna deport anybody, let's deport Trump. Send him packing from Chicago."

Here are additional comments from Lopez, Gutierrez and immigrant advocate Rachel Reed:

Trump International Hotel Las Vegas employees were among those outside the UIC Pavilion. They have been following Trump on the campaign trail, calling on him to negotiate a contract with employees who voted to form a union in December.

The Las Vegas workers are seeking a "fair" contract deal that would, among other things, provide better health care benefits.

Miguel Funes, who is a food server at the Las Vegas Trump Hotel and earns just over $9 an hour, said he and his co-workers "deserve our union contract."

The workers, organized by UNITE HERE, point out that Trump's company negotiated a contract with hotel workers in Canada after they formed a union.

"Mr. Trump said he wants to 'Make America Great Again,'" Funes said. "But how come he signed first the contract with Canadians in Toronto, and he doesn't sign for us? He doesn't sign here at home."

Trump's hotel in Las Vegas is also facing unfair labor practice complaints, with the most recent filed this week, according to UNITE HERE.

Here's background on the alleged labor issues at Trump's Las Vegas hotel, as provided by UNITE HERE:

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued another federal complaint against Trump Ruffin Commercial, LLC, alleging that the company unlawfully terminated one employee and discriminated against another based on their union support, and promised employees job opportunities if they abandoned the union.

Trump's company has driven an aggressive anti-union campaign since workers began organizing at the Trump Las Vegas in 2014. The complaint issued this week is the third one brought by federal government against Trump Las Vegas alleging unfair labor practices. In prior complaints, federal officials have alleged that Trump's hotel company engaged in the following unlawful activities: 1) maintaining rules prohibiting workers from communicating with one another and the public; 2) interrogations and surveillance; 3) intimidation of employees by Trump management and security staff, including a manager physically pushing employees; and 4) suspensions and a threat to fire union supporters.

Trump's company settled to avoid one trial in 2014 and settled another complaint in late 2015, rescinding rules that unlawfully silenced workers. Trump Las Vegas then faced a trial before the National Labor Relations Board that awaits a final determination on other alleged conduct, including physically pushing union supporters and other coercive activities.

In the latest case, Trump Las Vegas will face a hearing on April 12th before an administrative law judge of the National Labor Relations Board.

Celia Vargas is a Las Vegas Trump Hotel housekeeper.

"We won fair and square the [union] election last December," she said. "The federal government said so."

Trump employees, she added, will keep protesting until they receive a fair contract. 

Stay tuned.

Comments

Log in or register to post comments