Monday, November 15th
Today's Highlights in History
On Nov. 15, 1969, a quarter of a million protesters staged a peaceful demonstration in
Washington, Nov. 15--A vast throng of Americans, predominantly youthful and constituting the largest mass march in the nation's capital, demonstrated peacefully in the heart of the city today, demanding a rapid withdrawal of United States troops from Vietnam.
The District of Columbia Police Chief, Jerry Wilson, said a "moderate" estimate was that 250,000 had paraded on
Until today, the largest outpouring of demonstrators was the gentle civil rights march of 1963, which attracted, 200,000. Observers of both marches said the throng that appeared today was clearly greater than the outpouring of 1963.
At dusk, after the mass demonstration had ended, a small segment of the crowd, members of radical splinter groups, moved across Constitution Avenue to the Labor and Justice Department buildings, where they burned United States flags, threw paint bombs and other missiles and were repelled by tear gas released by the police.
There were a number of arrests and minor injuries, mostly the result of the tear gas.
At 8 P.M., most of the demonstrators, who had come from all parts of the country, were on buses, trains and cars leaving the city. By 11 P.M., the police said all was quiet in the city.
About 3,000 youths were unable to get to their buses, which were parked by the
The predominant event of the day was that of a great and peaceful army of dissent moving through the city.
At midday, under clear skies and in the face of a cold north wind, a solid moving carpet of humanity extended from the foot of the Capitol, 10 long blocks up Pennsylvania Avenue to the Treasury Building, four blocks down 15th Street and out across the grassy hill on which the Washington Monument stands.
The crowds brought to
"The record of history, I think, is clear," Senator McCarthy told the demonstrators as they gathered on the Mall for the march early this morning, "the cases in which political leaders out of misjudgment or ambition in ancient time and in modern times basing their action on the loyalty of their people, have done great harm to their own countries and to the world.
"The great loyalty of the Roman citizens moved the Caesars to war," he went on. The great loyalty of the French moved Napoleon to actions which should never have been taken. Let us in the
Except for clusters of a middle-aged marchers and a few in their latter years, the crowd in appearance could have been a merging of the college campuses across the nation. There was a small percentage of blacks.
Gathering of the Left
Overall, it was a mass gathering of the moderate and radical Left, including the 100 organizations that make up the New Mobilization Committee to End the War in
The outpouring was a climax to three days of antiwar demonstrations here and across the country. A 40-hour demonstration that the protestors called a "March Against Death," in which 40,000 filed past the White House bearing the names of the
Shortly thereafter, the crowds began assembling at the foot of the Capitol for the mass march.
An eruption of violence last night--in which about 2,000 militants marched on the South Vietnamese Embassy and were turned back by the police with tear gas as they broke windows and damaged police cruisers--did not discourage the outpouring of peaceful demonstrators this morning.
By contrast with the incident last night, the tone of the march and the assembly at the
The temperature was in the low 30's, warming up to near 40 later in the day.
The march, scheduled to begin at 10 A.M., got under way 25 minutes late. In the lead were three drummers, followed by youths carrying aloft 11 wooden coffins that contained placards bearing the names of the dead. The placards had been paraded past the White House. The coffin bearers were surrounded by a cordon of young, who were joining hands.
Next came a man bearing an immense wooden cross, followed by a large banner saying "Silent Majority for Peace" and then row after row of marchers 17 abreast shouting, "Peace now, peace now."
At 2 P.M., the last stragglers reached the Monument.
The Pentagon and the
In each of the Federal buildings on or near the parade route, including the Justice, Labor and Commerce Department buildings, Army and Marine Corps troops were held in reserve.
But the real work of keeping order and containing the mass of demonstrators along
The marshals identified by blue and white arm bands, were strict and assertive. They were firm not only with restless demonstrators but also with accredited reporters and photographers, and they occasionally jostled even the "celebrities" of the peace movement, such as Arlo Guthrie the folk singer, when the first rank of marchers was being lined up this morning.
The march along
The inner courts of the Pentagon and the Justice Department looked like bristling fortresses as hundreds of rifle-carrying paratroopers stood in formation.
But the troops were never seen on the streets during the march and rally, and the policemen who were seen around the parade route were reduced to directing the scattered traffic or simply standing and shivering in the cold.
By midafternoon the only arrest clearly related to the demonstration was that of Dominic Angerame, 20 years old, of
Hundreds of Banners
There were hundreds of banners and posters on parade. Some of the legends were old. Many were humorous, with Vice President Agnew a special target.
Over-all, the slogans, like the sign, "We're here because we love our country," seemed to be asserting that the demand for withdrawal from
Among the signs
Only one of the slogans was threatening
By 3 P.M. the chilled demonstrators were building little bonfires with their placards to keep warm on the Monument grounds.
Counterdemonstrators provoked a number of shouting matches but no major confrontations.
Their principal weapon was signs
Ambrose P. Salmini, a manufacturer of marine equipment from 12 Park Hill Terrace, Yonkers, N. Y., had the most spectacular sign.
After the parade, the crowd, closely packed, covered most of the grassy acreage around the Monument. The outpouring was reminiscent of the crowd that gathered on the warm summer day of Aug. 28, 1963, at the
There were famous faces in the crowd from both the Old and New Left, from Government and the arts. Black Americans were more heavily represented among the leaders and speakers than in the ranks of the demonstration.
Among the black leaders marching here today were Mrs. Coretta Scott King, widow of Dr. King; Phil Hutchings, a former officer of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, who is a columnist for The Guardian; George Wiley, head of the National Welfare Rights Organization, and Dick Gregory, the comedian-turned-activist.
Among the performing artists
Senator Goodell, the only Republican officeholder who took an active part in the demonstration, said
"This assumes," he said, "that one million South Vietnamese under arms will be slaughtered by a force of 200,000. And what in the world has been going on for the last six and a half years if not a bloodbath?"
"We are not here to break a President or even a Vice President," said Senator Goodell. "We are here to break the war and begin the peace."
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