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Anti-Trump Protest Stage To Be Set Up Across the Street From UIC Pavilion

By Stephanie Lulay | March 9, 2016 5:07pm
 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, shown at a press conference in Jupiter, Fla. Tuesday, will host a rally at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago Friday night.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, shown at a press conference in Jupiter, Fla. Tuesday, will host a rally at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago Friday night.
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Getty Images/Joe Raedle; dnainfo/Stephanie Lulay

CHICAGO — In an attempt to keep the peace as Republican presidential front runner Donald Trump rolls in to town, UIC officials plan to keep protesters across the street from the UIC Pavilion Friday. 

Parking lot 1B, at the southeast corner of Harrison Street and Racine Avenue across from the UIC Pavilion, will be open for demonstrations, UIC officials said Wednesday. A stage will be set up for demonstrators on the west end of the lot near Racine. 

The Harrison Street parking structure will be open for those attending the Trump rally, Mark Donovan, UIC vice chancellor for administrative services, said in an email to staff Tuesday night. 

The UIC Police Department will be responsible for the safety and security of people inside the UIC Pavilion and on UIC property. The Chicago Police Department will be responsible for public safety and traffic control on city streets surround the Pavilion, and U.S. Secret Service agents, Illinois State Police and the Chicago Fire Department will also be on site Friday night. 

Doors open at 3 p.m. for the event, which is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. Officials did not immediately say whether metal detectors would be used to screen entrants, but they have been used at other Trump rallies across the country.

All rally attendees will be required to comply with UIC Pavilion policies, including policies against bringing prohibited items inside and following an event code of conduct.

According to information sent by the Trump campaign with the tickets to the event, no posters, banners or signs will be allowed inside the event. Professional cameras with a detachable lens, and no tripods, monopods, selfie sticks, or GoPros are also banned. IDs are not required for entry, the campaign said.

Donovan urged protesters to engage in a way that is respectful and recognizes a shared belief in the principles of free speech. 

"We hope and expect any demonstrations outside the Pavilion to be peaceful," Donovan wrote. "The fact that this event is happening on our campus in no way threatens UIC’s core values of freedom, equality and social justice for all, regardless of race, religion, national origin, disability status or sexual orientation."

UIC staff and faculty who typically park in lots 1A, 1B or the Harrison Street parking structure may relocate to parking lot 9 or lot 4 on Friday. There will be no charge to park in an alternative lot Friday. 

Earlier this week, 180 UIC teachers said the presence of Trump and his supporters at the UIC Pavilion Friday will create a "physically dangerous" environment for students and staff. They urged the event be canceled.

Following news of his rally last week, protesters started mobilizing. First, a Facebook event popped up and immediately had thousands of RSVPs. Organizers told those opposed to the GOP presidential front-runner to show up at the UIC Pavilion, 525 S. Racine Ave., Friday and not only protest outside — but snag tickets and get inside. 

As of Tuesday morning, nearly 8,600 people vowed to show up to the event (though Facebook RSVPs for such events are typically higher than actual turnout). The stadium can hold up to 10,000 people, depending on how its configured, according to the UIC Pavilion website.

But a petition to cancel the rally altogether has even more support: 42,626 people have asked the University of Illinois at Chicago and the director of the Pavilion to cancel the event. 

On Monday, a number of Latino politicians including U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D), Ald. George Cardenas (12th), Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th), and Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th) said they will stand among the protesters Friday outside of the UIC Pavilion.

Officials with the Trump campaign did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

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