A scheduled rally of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in Chicago has been cancelled. Sources say the campaign decided to call off the event due to safety concerns after protesters packed into the venue.
University of Illinois at Chicago students previously petitioned to ban the Republican front-runner from attending a scheduled appearance on the campus. After the announcement of Trump's postponed rally, the crowd inside the UIC Pavilion broke out into cheers.
Outside the campus, Trump supporters cheered for the candidate. They held placards and broke out into chants of "We want Trump! We want Trump!" as per reports from Miami Herald.
An online petition posted in Moveon.org demanded to cancel the event. The petition gathered nearly 50,000 signatures. In addition, faculty and staffers of the University of Illinois expressed safety concerns for anti-Trump protests.
Furthermore, online sources said there's a heavy police presence outside the campus, equipped with barricades to keep Trump supporters and protesters apart. Chicago police officers ensured that the opposing sides were separate from each other to control the situation.
LA Times reported officials announced shortly after 4:30 p.m. that Trump's rally was cancelled.
The news about the cancelled Chicago rally comes after Trump won a high-profile endorsement from retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. Carson is the second former Republican candidate who endorsed Trump after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
Trump told in a news conference that Carson had not asked for any formal role. But the Republican front-runner applauded his former rival's views on education.
Political analysts say the latest endorsement will boost Trump's presidential campaign, and it comes just days before the crucial nominating contests.
On March 15, there will be five Republican primaries in five states-- Illinois, Florida, Ohio, Missouri and North Carolina. These primaries are critical for Trump to assert his position for the Republican presidential nomination. Moreover, the contests will determine whether US Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Ohio Governor John Kasich can still be able to continue.
In today's reports, Rubio said he is still determined to win Florida's winner-take-all contest next week. In a Monmouth poll released Monday, it says Rubio has only 8 percentage points behind Trump.
A Republican candidate needs 1,237 delegates to get the presidential nomination. As of this writing, Trump has 459 delegates to Cruz's 360. Rubio has 152 and Ohio Gov. John Kasich has 54. These figures are from Bloomberg.com.