Hundreds of Police Use Tear Gas, Clubs to Disperse Violent Crowd
Streetfighting raged in the Harvard Square area for more than four hours last night, as police used nightsticks and tear gas to disperse a crowd which began at 1500 and grew to nearly 3000 at its peak.
The demonstrators-who entered the Square on a march from the Boston Common led by the November Action Coalition-set fire to two buildings, looted stores, and gutted two police cars with fire.
Street violence also flared in other cities around the country in the wake of massive anti-war protests. In Providence, demonstrators threw rocks and broke windows, while police clashed with demonstrators in Berkeley and Detroit.
At least 120 people were treated for injuries at Stillman Infirmary and the Old Cambridge Baptist Church. The Associated Press reported that a total of 300 people had been injured. About 70 of the injuries reported were serious lacerations and bone fractures or breaks. At least 14 policemen were also injured.
About 28 demonstrators were reported arrested in the melee, which involved 1200 policemen from Cambridge, Boston, and the surrounding communities. At 1:30 a. m., the streets were fairly clear, and traffic was flowing normally although 2000 National Guardsmen were standing by ready to move into the streets of Cambridge.
At midnight the Cambridge police decided to call for a curfew starting at 1:45 a. m. The curfew gave police the power to arrest on sight anyone walking the city streets.
President Pusey and Dean May last night issued a statement deploring the violence at the end of a day of peaceful demonstrations. They expressed hope thatfew, if any. Harvard students were involved, and said that the University had not been informed of the dispatch of police to the Square. Officials also promised to provide counsel for any Harvard students arrested.
The march began at 6:35, when the "Bobby Seale Contingent" -a group of demonstrators led by NAC-TDA and including members of Women's liberation groups and Youth Agaist War and Faseism-split off from the massive peace rally at the Boston Common.
The group, which held a parade permit for the full route of the march moved down Beacon St. with an escort of two bus-loads of Boston Police. Although members of the group began throwing rocks at windows and cars on Beacon St., march marshals enforced order and told the marchers to "go all the way to Harvard Square."
The Boston Police turned back at the Harvard Bridge, but files of Cambridge police, badgeless and wearing gas masks, lined the march route along Massachusetts Ave.
As he group passed through Central Square, rocks flew through the windows of the Cambridgeport Saving Bank. A sound truck manned by march leaders again urged the demonstrators to "go all the way to Harvard Square-where the euemies are."
The demonstrators, 1500 strong, entered the square about 7 p. m., after marching from Boston Common. One group rallied on the common while others blocked traffic in the square, chanting, "Free Bobby Seale." and "one, two three, four we don't want this fucking war."
Demonstrators flooded into the three main arteries from the square while others sat down in the middle of Massachusetts Ave. Some set fire to heaps of trash, and others mounted the roof of the MTA station.
At about 7:20 p. m., streetlights in the square were turned off, 15 minutes later, the first 110 Cambridge police arrived and formed lines on Mass. Ave opposite Hayes-Bickford Cafeteria.
The police, most of whom wore no badges, moved forward to occupy the intersection of Brattle and Boylston Sts., splitting the crowd into three groups. One group moved down Brattle St., breaking windows.
Some of the protestors broke the front windows of the Northeast Federal Savings bank and hurled a firebrand through the broken glass. Cambridge firemen extinguished the blaze after only superficial damage to the window case and part of the lobby.
Demonstrators later broke windows in Bobbi Baker, Ltd. The store was looted, and about half an hour later a fire, was set in the front window.
Earlier in the evening, demonstrators hurled a firebrand through the shattered front window of the Coop, but others pulled the burning board out of the building before the blaze spread.
Sporadic looting and burning continued during the evening. Demonstrators shattered all the ground floor windows in Holyoke Center and looted Sak's Fifth Avenue, the Harvard Provision Co., and the Derby Jeweler.
Extensive damage was also reported later in the eevning in Central Square. Reports indicated that store windows had been broken and minor looting had occurred.
The police were restrained at first, pushing demonstrators back and making no arrests. At about 8:19 p. m., however, they began a series of charges through the square which injured about a dozen demonstrators and resulted in at least five arrests.
The police charges drove most of the demonstrators onto Mt. Auburn St., where bystanders swelled the crowd to nearly 3000. Some protestors pried up bricks from the sidewalk and hurled rocks and pieces of brick at the police. Others attempted to barricade the street with a pickup truck.
Police then faced off against the demon strators at the intersection of Brattle and Mt. Auburn for more than an hour and hurled the missiles back at the demonstrators. At about 8:40, police began a series of four charges which repeatedly swept demonstrators down Bow and Plympton Sts., where the protestors regrouped and advanced back onto Mt. Auburn.
The standoff continued through the night as State police advanced, firing cannisters of tear gas into the crowd Students fled down Plympton, DeWolf, and Bow Sts, tossing bricks and rocks. Many protestors fled into the courtyards of Quincy House and Lowell House. At one point police charged into Lowell Quincy, Adams, and Claverly to make arrests, State Police, making a sweep down the street, fired several gas cannisters into the Quincy courtyard and the front entrance of Lowell House. Gas fumes choked students in Claverly.
Shortly afterward, police moved up DeWolf and Dunster Sts. to the Square, and demonstrators returned to Mt. Auburn St. Police made repeated charges during the evening, firing more cannisters of gas.