240,000 pack Grant Park for election rally

November 5, 2008 3:59:40 AM PST
Tuesday night, a huge crowd of Barack Obama supporters crammed into Grant Park for a chance to be a part of history. City officials estimated the crowd at Grant Park to be 240,000 people. Only about 70,000 of those had tickets, which means the rest stood blocks away and watched the proceedings on a Jumbotron. They took part in the victory celebration when Obama was declared the president-elect.

"He's a beacon for this world because, whatever it's doing now, it's going to change a whole lot. This man, we're not looking at one man, we're looking at a nation on that stage, and he's representing a lot of people. He's representing change," said Danielle Heele, Chicago.

On Michigan Avenue at Congress Parkway the crowds just kept on coming in through the one entry point into Grant Park, streaming even after Obama's election to the presidency was announced. There were so many people that the mounted unit of the Chicago police on occasion briefly stopped people from entering until the flow through and enter security check points thinned out and then they let them enter again.

"This day is a very emotional day for a lot of people. The country is in a situation that we need change and we got change today," said Tony Diggs, Chicago.

There was a deafening roar from the crowd just after 10 p.m. when the networks called the race for Barack Obama.

Supporters were allowed in earlier than expected. Authorities had said gates would not open until 8:30 p.m., but because of concerns about crowding on the streets, gates were opened early, first to non-ticketed supporters, then to the estimated 70,000 Obama backers who had a ticket to the rally.

There were no security glitches to report from Tuesday night's rally. The spokesperson from the Chicago Fire Department says it was a huge success.


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