On this day in history : 3rd July 1966 – Over 30 protesters are arrested outside the US Embassy in London as a demonstration against the Vietnam War turns violent….
Throughout the Vietnam War protest marches, often led by students, were organised in cities across America and Europe…. Eventually, as public opinion increased more and more against the war, the US government was forced to reconsider its intervention in Southeast Asia….
One such demonstration was held outside the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square, London, by a crowd of some 4,000 protesters – 2,000 of which were members of the newly formed ‘Youth for Peace in Vietnam Movement’…. The YPVM had earlier marched to Downing Street, chanting….“Victory to the Vietcong”…. before handing in a letter for Prime Minister Harold Wilson demanding that the United Kingdom disassociate itself from the US policy in Vietnam…. The YPVM then joined the rest of the demonstrators at Trafalgar Square ready for the march to the US Embassy….
When the protesters arrived at Grosvenor Square 200 police officers had already cordoned it off…. Things became ugly when John Gollan, General Secretary of the Communist Party, urged them to disperse…. At one point a policeman was knocked from his motorcycle and as fuel leaked from it a lit match was thrown upon it….
Accompanied by chants of….“hands off Vietnam”….a delegation of 5 handed over a resolution to Embassy officials, calling for an end to the US bombings and a withdrawal of its troops….
Protests across the world intensified towards the end of the 1960s as casualties in Vietnam continued to rise…. The demonstrations eventually declined when President Nixon began to withdraw US troops in 1971….