Chicago teachers struck Monday, closing classrooms for about 400,000 students and prompting Mayor Rahm Emanuel to stop raising money for President Barack Obama’s re-election in order to devote time to settling the city’s first walkout in 25 years.

Months of tension erupted into open hostility Sunday night when Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, called the work stoppage in the nation’s third-largest district. The teachers’ contract expired in June, and negotiations broke down over health benefits and job security. About 5 p.m., thousands of strike supporters gathered at school headquarters in the Loop business district waving placards and chanting; talks with the union, which represents 26,000 teachers and other workers, continued.

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