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Trump calls off Chicago rally following violent clashes

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Following protests against the Republican presidential front-runner which eventually led to violent clashes, Donald Trump has called off a rally in Chicago.

Protesters gathered in large numbers outside the venue at the University of Illinois hours before Mr Trump was due.

Inside the auditorium, fighting broke out between supporters and protesters, who waved flags and chanted.

A statement from Mr Trump’s campaign said the candidate decided to postpone the event after meeting with police, as reported by BBC.

But a Chicago Police Department spokesman said the force was not consulted in the decision to postpone the rally.

There were several violent clashes, some sparked by Trump supporters attempting to wrestle flags from protesters. Police attempted to control the large crowds outside the venue as well, as observed in helicopter footage. One protester had to be physically removed from the stage by what appeared to be a Secret Service agent.

Speaking to Fox News after the events, Mr Trump denied using hate speech or playing any part in fostering division.

“I represent a large group of people that have a lot of anger,” he said. “There is tremendous anger out there on both sides.”

Talking about the decision to cancel the rally, he said: “I think it was a very good thing we did, I think it was an intelligent decision.”

Staff at the university had earlier petitioned administrators to cancel the rally, citing concerns it would create a “hostile and physically dangerous environment” for students.

Earlier on Friday, 32 people were arrested after protests at a rally held by Mr Trump rally in St Louis, Missouri.

Mr Trump was repeatedly interrupted by the protesters, who he called a “disgrace”.
These latest clashes come just a day after a Trump supporter was charged with assault after multiple videos showed him punching a protester at a campaign rally in North Carolina.

Mr Trump later said that the supporter’s actions were “appropriate”.

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