Thursday, 27 January 2011

Ohio Students Join Inaugural Protest

January 20, 1969

Editors note: This story was written by Louis Heldman, Lantern Special Writer, and supplemented by information from wire services.

About 450 Ohio college students, including many from Ohio State, joined in Washington Sunday under the banners of Ohio Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) to participate in the counter-inaugural parade.

The parade, sponsored by the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (MOBE), attracted students from the Ohio colleges of: Cuyahoga Community College, Kent State University, Oberlin College, Otterbein College, Ohio University, and the University of Cincinnati.

Members of the Ohio State SDS chapter estimated that 250 of the students were from USO. About 100 Ohio State students were housed in the Ohio Movement Center, at the Brightwood Park Methodist Church in suburban Washington, Saturday night.

A discussion at the Brightwood Park Church Saturday night, attended by about 50 members of the Ohio State delegation, revealed that many students were reluctant to engage in any activities that might lead to violence. Speakers said they were willing to show their anger against "the System," but not by violence means.

Washington police estimated the number participating in the counter inaugural parade Sunday was 5,000.

The march formed at 15th and Pennsylvania Avenues, within the shadow of the Washington monument. The march proceeded down Pennsylvania Ave. in the opposite direction of the inaugural parade tomorrow. There were minor incidents along the way.

Most violent were the fight outside the gleaming white marble Science and Technology Building after the march was over and a brief flareup at the foot of Capitol Hill about an hour earlier.

Mounted policemen rode into the disheveled throng to drive it back from a Smithsonian Institution building after stones had been thrown toward a dozen dignitaries arriving for a reception for Vice President-elect Spiro T. Agnew.

While invited guests in evening clothes entered the Smithsonian building, protesters battled officers with bottles, rocks, sticks, mud and oak slats torn from large litter baskets.

Police said they could not determine immediately how many demonstrators were arrested, but estimated the total at about two dozen. Park police said two officers had been hospitalized, but no details were available.

Agnew arrived at a side entrance and eluded the demonstrators who had gathered to jeer him.

Eight mounted policemen, with nightsticks upraised, drove the demonstrators back after the rock-throwing started. Apparently the sticks were not used and no injuries were reported by guests or protesters.

When the parade ended at the foot of Capitol Hill, some of the protest leaders urged the crowd to move on but others linked arms and refused to move. That brought on the first confrontation of the day.

"Most of them were charged with failure to move on," Assistant Chief of Police Jerry V. Wilson said, "but some of them are being held for assault on policemen and disorderly conduct."

Some youths in the throng tried to rip down an American flag flying in front of the NASA building within sight of the Capitol.

However, a band of fellow marchers ringed the flagpole and turned back their colleagues after a spirited shoving match.

Police moved in to take over afterwards without further incident.

A counter-inaugural ball was held on a mall between the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial. The Mobilization committee had announced the ball's featured performers as singers Judy Collins, Phil Ochs, Janis Joplin, and the Fugs. Ochs, a former Ohio State student, performed early in the afternoon in a rally before the march.

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