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Troops On Alert

Violence Seen Probable In D.C. Demonstration

WASHINGTON (AP)- Leaders of Saturday's march on the Pentagon- the climax and largest of this week's antiwar demonstrations- said Friday they plan "only peaceful acts of civil disobedience."

But they said there is a potential for violence.

The Pentagon was prepared, augmenting regular security forces with up to 6,000 troops and one source said an additional 20,000 will be on alert.

Estimates are that 40,000 to 70,000 will take part in the three-pronged demonstrations:
a Saturday morning rally at the Lincoln Memorial with speeches and entertainment; a 1 1/2-mile march across the Potomac River to the Pentagon for another rally; and planned civil disobedience and an all-night vigil at the Pentagon.

Just A Ritual

Dave Dellinger, chairman of the march, said it is probable there are some who may not want only to go "through a ritualistic charade of stepping across a line," to express their disapproval of the Vietnam War.

"It is not surprising that people who are as abhorrent about the war and determined to stop it wont go up as sheep to be slaughtered," he said.

The permit issued the demonstrators sets out boundaries at the Pentagon, but Dellinger said the protesters have not abandoned their plan to encircle the huge building with its 40 entrances.

Warren Christopher, the deputy attorney general, said the government will not tolerate disorder.

Permit Not License

"Let no one be mistaken," he said, "the granting of a permit is not a license for unlawful conduct."

Officials refused to say how many troops have flown into Washington, where they are stationed and under what conditions they will go into action. In the capital itself, police leaves have been canceled and 4,000 National Guard troops will be on duty.

If the demonstrations go peacefully, "it will be worth the cost" of protecting constitutional rights of assembly and expression while maintaining the law and order, an official said.

Both Sides Busy

Preparations were at a peak by both sides. The demonstrators were arranging for sound equipment, sanitary facilities, medical care- and money to pay for them.

The government erected a high wire fence around the Pentagon reservoir, set up special arrest booths, supplied an extra 200 federal marshals to the 100 already here, and was making a traffic count on roads leading into Washington.

President Johnson will be at the White House, spurning an invitation to address the National Governors Conference in the Virgin Islands. Press Secretary George Christian would not comment when asked if the demonstrations were the reason.

Black national groups have been circulating tracts urging Negroes to stay away from the demonstrations. One mimeographed sheet said their "purpose is to use black people as tools to bring about the overthrow of the U.S. government forcing the government to kill black people on sight."

Dellinger said many Negro antiwar groups will attend the Lincoln Memorial demonstration, then will go into the black community to carry the message door-to-door.

All-Night Vigil

Rules spelled out in the permit set aside an area for an all-night "vigil" at the Pentagon, but specify that once a demonstrator leaves that area after 7 p.m. Saturday, he cannot be readmitted. Free access to the area begins again at noon Sunday.

The permit expires at midnight Sunday, but some demonstrators indicated they will continue Monday when the normal work force of 27,000 will be there. On weekends, only 3,000 are in the Pentagon.

Among the diverse groups involved in the demonstration is a large hippie contingent. A spokesman, Don Lewis of San Francisco, said, "We felt that by bringing music, flowers and a Wizard of Oz atmosphere we can bring some happiness into a serious gathering."

Friday afternoon 16 or 17 young people clutching flowers showed up at the Mall Entrance to the Pentagon and complained of "Stalin Tactics" when ordered to stand outside a retaining rope. Hippies have called the Pentagon "Warhawk Aviary."

Dellinger says the demonstrators have no intention of physically attacking the Pentagon. "We would like to sit down and seriously disrupt business," he said.

If there is violence, it will be caused by the guards, he said. "We want to confront the warmakers, not the police of Washington."

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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As the United States sent ever greater numbers of combat forces to Vietnam, public opposition to the escalation of the war grew. In October of 1967, a coalition of anti-war groups, with a combined total of between 40,000 and 70,000 protesters, staged a mass demonstration in the Nation?s capitol. The "March on the Pentagon" sought to physically and symbolically surround the headquarters of the U.S. military. Fearful of civil disorder, the government, in addition to calling in 4,000 National Guard troops, "erected a high wire fence around the Pentagon reservoir, set up special arrest booths, supplied an extra 200 federal marshals to the 100 already here, and was making a traffic count on roads leading into Washington." In "Armies of the Night," novelist Norman Mailler recorded an interesting eye-witness account of this demonstration.


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"Violence Seen Probable in D.C. Demonstration" article from The Greenfield Recorder newspaper

publisher   Greenfield Recorder
date   Oct 21, 1967
location   Greenfield, Massachusetts
width   4.0"
height   6.75"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Periodicals/Newspaper
accession #   #L06.039

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See Also...

"Police, Protesters Clash" article from The Greenfield Recorder newspaper

"War Protest Keeps New England College Campuses in Ferment" article in The Greenfield Recorder newspaper

"UM Students Protest Move Into Cambodia" article in The Greenfield Recorder newspaper

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