Friday, May 12, 1972

War Protests Spill Over Into Violence

(AP) --Growing protests swirled on city streets and college campuses as antiwar demonstrators by the thousands denounced President Nixon's decision to mine North Vietnamese harbors.

It was the most turbulent outburst since the 1970 protests over the U.S. invasion of Cambodia. Most of the demonstrations started peacefully Tuesday or early Wednesday but a number ended with violence and vandalism.

Police in Berkeley, Calif., fired putty bullets from squad cars in a running battle with window-smashing demonstrators near the University of California campus. Protesters on the University of California campus at Santa Barbara tried unsuccessfully to refire a bank burned down in the 1970 violence.

In Albuquerque, Carolyn Babb Coburn, 22, a University of New Mexico law student, was hit in the abdomen by buckshot while covering the demonstration for the student newspaper and was reported in serious condition Wednesday. Another buckshot victim, Paul Smith, 23, was treated and released.

About 500 demonstrators had blocked Interstate 25 near downtown when police cleared the area with tear gas. The shootings followed but police said there was doubt as to whether police fired the shot.

In the political arena, critics termed the President's action "reckless," "a high crime," and brinksmanship while supporters praised "a bold move," "a courageous move," "a measured response."

Vice President Spiro T. Agnew told a Republican fundraising dinner Tuesday night at the Ohio Fairgrounds in Columbus that he was "particularly proud of Richard Nixon" for the harbor-mining decision.

A crowd of about 350 demonstrators who marched from Ohio State University threw rocks and potatoes at the vice president's limousine as he arrived. The rear window was cracked but Agnew was unhurt.

In Berkeley more than 3,000 demonstrators broke up a City Council meeting where a peace resolution that included aid to a North Vietnamese hospital was narrowly defeated.

The council meeting came after a day of marching in which windows were broken in banks, parking meters damaged and trash fires set in many streets.

After the meeting the crowd surged back down Telegraph Avenue and police began using tear gas and putty bullets, which sting and bruise, to quell the window smashing.

On the campus at Santa Barbara there were peaceful protests by up to 3,000 demonstrators during the day. At one point they blockaded the runway of a nearby airport forcing officials to divert one flight.

In the evening an angry crowd of 300 tried three times to storm the ROTC building but were driven back by police using tear gas.

In Gainesville, Fla., arrests cams as riot-equipped police using dogs tried to disperse some 1,000 University of Florida students who had blocked streets during a 10-hour antiwar demonstration around the campus.

"We have requested that the National Guard be alerted," said Gainesville Mayor Richard T. Jones, "but we have not made an official request for troops to be sent out."

A curfew was declared in Champaign, Ill., after a crowd of students smashed windows in the armory and broke into ROTC classrooms. Nine stores were looted in the downtown area.

The crowd formed after a peaceful rally attended by about 2,500 students. Seven persons were arrested on charges of theft, disorderly conduct or curfew violation.

Approximately 7,000 persons rallied peacefully on the State Capitol lawn in Madison, Wis., marking the University of Wisconsin's biggest antiwar turnout since the 1970 demonstrations.

Many carried candles as clergymen and student leaders called for an all-night vigil.

At Kent State University, where four students were shot to death by the National Guard during 1970 protests, a crowd of 3,000 rallied during the evening to protest the President's new move.

About 150 demonstrators burned President Nixon in effigy from the flagpole of the Salt Lake City federal building after police used dogs to clear demonstrators from the street in front of the structure.

Police in East Lansing, Mich., used tear gas to disperse a crowd of between 1,000 and 2,000 young people who blocked a busy intersection at the Michigan State University campus.

Antiwar demonstrators from Columbia University took to New York City streets for the second night in a row and again police charged with nightsticks to break up the march. Eighteen persons were seized.






"War Protests Spill Over Into Violence", by (AP), published in the Pacific Stars and Stripes on Friday, May 12, 1972 and reprinted from European and Pacific Stars and Stripes, a Department of Defense publication copyright, 2002 European and Pacific Stars and Stripes.
[ Return to Index ]