Trump in Chicago: Rallies, Protests, Traffic | WBEZ
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Protesters Rallied As President Trump Visited Chicago

Updated 5:01 p.m.

See photos from President Donald Trump's visit to Chicago here. And read about his speech that sharply criticized Chicago and its top cop here.

Protesters converged on Chicago’s Trump International Hotel and Tower and marched through the Loop on Monday to rally against President Donald Trump’s visit to the city for a speech and fundraiser.

The rally, dubbed by organizers as “Trump, Get Out of Our House!,” was held across the Chicago River from Trump Tower. More than 20 groups were co-sponsoring the rally. They include the Chicago chapter of the National Organization for Women, Rainbow PUSH Coalition and the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America, according to the organizers’ Facebook page.

Thousands of protesters gathered as close as they could get to Trump Tower, at one point nearly filling Wacker Drive between Michigan Avenue and Wabash. The protest had a parade-like atmosphere, with sousaphones and whistles and flags from the Philippines, Palestine and the LGBTQ community. A piñata of a finger-wagging Trump swayed above the crowd. Homemade signs blasted the president on everything from his ties to Russia to corruption and impeachment.

Trump Rally
Linda Lutton/WBEZ
Protesters gather outside Chicago’s Trump International Hotel and Tower as President Donald Trump spoke at a police conference on Oct. 28, 2019.

The rally, plus the extra police and heightened security that come with any presidential visit, caused street closures and traffic hassles. The city even put up temporary fencing and had city snowplows block Wabash to prevent protesters from crossing the Chicago River to stand directly in front of the hotel.

Even at a distance, the protesters found ways to express their opinions. Signs with the words "Impeach Trump," "Trump is a traitor" and other slogans lined the streets. Others held signs with pro-immigrant messages.

Trump protest marchers
Linda Lutton/WBEZ
Marchers protesting President Trump's visit to Chicago march on Wabash Avenue toward Trump Tower, where he is scheduled to hold a fundraiser Monday.

Chicagoan Roger Greene said he was moved to protest by the president’s visit.

“It’s an opportunity — I mean, he’s in Chicago,” Greene said. “But I’m sort of dismayed that this isn’t every weekend.”

Sprinkled among the crowd were striking Chicago Public Schools teachers, still in red sweatshirts from their eighth morning on the picket line. Many held signs about school funding. The Chicago Teachers Union did not plan any afternoon activities and said in an email to its members, “Feel free to rest or take part in any productive activity of your choosing. We have heard that President Trump might be in town. If any members were inclined to show up outside his fundraiser in red, that would qualify as productive, in our view.”

Thirteen-year-old Zara Linneman had the day off because of the strike.

"We want a president who is accepting of everyone and who does not just spread hate," said Linneman, who was with classmates at the protest.

French Tourist Anne Wuilleumier said protests in Paris get bigger, “but people here are very engaged.” She was impressed with the energy of the crowd.

The president spoke Monday morning to the International Association of Chiefs of Police convention at McCormick Place, then was scheduled to go to his namesake tower on Wabash Avenue to attend a fundraiser and meet with supporters. Small numbers of protesters also turned out near McCormick Place.

This is Trump’s first visit to Chicago since his election in 2016.

Trump used his speech to harshly and repeatedly rebuke Chicago’s own police superintendent, Eddie Johnson.

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