October 9

This Day in History

Vietnam War

Oct 9, 1969:

The National Guard breaks up protests at home

In the United States, the National Guard is called in as demonstrations continue in Chicago protesting the trial of the "Chicago Eight."

The trial had begun on September 24 and involved charges against David Dellinger, Rennie Davis, Thomas Hayden, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Lee Weiner, John Froines, and Bobby Seale for conspiracy to cross state lines with intent to cause a riot. These charges stemmed from the violent antiwar demonstrations in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

When the trial finally ended in February 1970, Judge Julius Hoffman found the seven defendants (Seale had been separated from the others for a separate trial due to his courtroom antics) and their lawyers guilty of 175 counts of contempt and sentenced them to terms of two to four years. Although the jury found the defendants not guilty on the conspiracy charge, the jury did find all except Froines and Weiner guilty of intent to riot. Those found guilty were sentenced to five years and a $5,000 fine, but none served time. In 1972, a Court of Appeals overturned the criminal convictions and eventually most of the contempt charges were also dismissed.

Laird describes new orders to U.S. commanders in Vietnam U.S. Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird, reporting on Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Earle Wheeler's trip to Vietnam at a news conference in Washington, announces that U.S. commanders in Vietnam have been given new orders aimed at placing the "highest priority" on shifting the burden of the fighting to the South Vietnamese forces.

Laird described the new tactics as "protective reaction," but said that the new orders did not forbid U.S. commanders from seeking out and attacking enemy troops that posed threats. This was all part of the Vietnamization program announced by President Richard Nixon at the Midway Conference with South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu in June.

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