When black, Muslim and Latino student activists at the University of Illinois at Chicago heard last week that Donald Trump was planning a rally on campus, they did what any good organizers do in 2016: They went online.
Within days, thousands of people had liked a Facebook page called “Stop Trump – Chicago.” Tens of thousands added their names to a MoveOn.org petition calling on the school to cancel the rally.
They all had one thing in common, said Casandra Robledo, a second-year student who helped organize the protest: “We felt so strongly that Donald Trump and his bigotry and racism wasn’t welcome here.”
The students’ large demonstration at Trump’s rally Friday night led the Republican presidential candidate to abruptly cancel his planned appearance and sparked a melee between Trump supporters and protesters that resulted in multiple injuries and arrests.
Trump took to Twitter on Saturday morning, calling the protesters “thugs” who denied him and his supporters their 1st Amendment right to free speech.
“The organized group of people, many of them thugs, who shut down our First Amendment rights in Chicago, have totally energized America!” he wrote.
The clashes marked the most violent episode of a campaign that has grown increasingly tense since the businessman and reality television star announced his bid for theRepublican presidential nomination last summer.
Activists angered by Trump’s inflammatory statements on immigration, Islam and other topics now show up at nearly every public event.
They are typically escorted out by police as his supporters cheer. One Trump audience member was recently arrested after he punched a black protester who was being led away.
Read more: LA Times