In the days preceding the convention, thousands of antiwar demonstrators descended on Chicago’s streets to protest the Vietnam War and its support by Humphrey, the top Democratic presidential candidate. In response, Richard Daley, Chicago’s heavy-handed mayor, called in 7,500 U.S. Army troops and 6,000 National Guardsmen to back up his 12,000 police officers.
On August 26, the convention officially began. Two days later, police and National Guardsmen clashed with protesters outside the International Amphitheater, and the Chicago police beat hundreds of people, including innocent bystanders. The violence even spilled into the convention hall, as guards roughed up delegates and members of the press, including CBS News correspondent Mike Wallace, who was punched in the face. On August 29, Humphrey secured the nomination and the convention ended.
In the convention’s aftermath, a federal commission investigating the convention described the August 28 confrontation as a “police riot” and blamed Chicago Mayor Richard Daley for inciting his police to violence. Nevertheless, eight political radicals–the so-called “Chicago Eight”–were arrested on charges of conspiring to incite the violence, and in 1969 their trial began in Chicago, sparking new waves of protests in the city.